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Tag: Tucson Sector

Authorities Seize Nearly $700,000 in Cash Stowed Away by Border Patrol Agent Accused of Drug Trafficking, Prosecutors Say

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Authorities found more than $680,000 in the home, vehicle, and safe deposit box of a Border Patrol agent who has been charged with drug trafficking, federal court documents show.

Carlos Victor Passapera Pinott, 53, assigned to the Tucson Sector Ajo Border Patrol Station, has been charged with multiple counts of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances.

Federal agents found $370,000 in at his house and vehicle and another $311,000 in a safe deposit box, Tucson.com reports.

Prosecutors say Passapera was caught loading two duffel bags full of drugs into a vehicle at an airport in Phoenix. The bags contained 21 kilograms of cocaine, one kilogram of heroin and one kilogram of fentanyl, plus some 350,000 pills believed to fentanyl, according to prosecutors.

If convicted, Passapera faces up to life in jail and a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison.

Border Patrol Agent Charged with Drug Trafficking After Agents Find Duffel Bags Full of Drugs

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent has been charged with drug trafficking after prosecutors say he loaded two duffel bags full of drugs into a vehicle at an airport in Phoenix.

Carlos Victor Passapera Pinott, 53, assigned to the Tucson Sector Ajo Border Patrol Station, was charged with multiple counts of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, ICE says in a news release.

Prosecutors say the duffel bags contained 21 kilograms of cocaine, one kilogram of heroin and one kilogram of fentanyl plus some 350,000 pills believed to fentanyl.

Agents executed a search warrant at his Buckeye, Ariz., home and found about $329,000 in cash and another $40,000 in his vehicle, prosecutors say.

If convicted, Passapera faces up to life in jail and a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison.

Border Patrol Seizes Record Amount of Fentanyl in Tucson Sector

Synthetic opioid tablets

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents have seized a record amount of fentanyl in the Tucson Sector.

So far in fiscal year 2020, the sector seized 57 pounds of the synthetic opioid, which is more than four times the amount seized last fiscal year, KTAR News reports.

Agents this week busted an 18-year-old Nevada woman smuggling more than 8 ounces of fentanyl at the Nogales Port of Entry.

“Really, it was a line of questioning and agent intuition which led to the person admitting that she was carrying these narcotics,” Agent Joe Curran said. “We’re just happy that this had the safest resolution for the person who was smuggling those narcotics, and there was no contamination to those agents or anybody.”

At least 32 fentanyl-related deaths have been reported by the Pima County Health Department.

Two Border Patrol Agents Assaulted in Southern Arizona within 24-Hour Period

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Two Border Patrol agents in southern Arizona were assaulted in a pair of unrelated incidents within 24 hours of each other.

Both agents work out of the Tucson sector.

The first attack occurred Thursday evening when a 24-year-old Guatemalan man, who illegally entered the U.S., struck an agent before being taken into custody, Tucson.com reports.

On Friday afternoon, a 22-year-old Phoenix man tried to run down another agent in a vehicle before crashing into the agent’s SUV.

Both men will be prosecuted under federal assault charges.

Neither agent was seriously injured.

Border Patrol Agent Dies During Search in Rugged Terrain at Arizona Border

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent died Sunday after fellow agents found him unresponsive in a remote part of the Arizona border east of Nogales.

Agent Robert Hotten, 44, was responding to a ground sensor that appeared to be triggered by a group of migrants near Mount Washington. When Hotten didn’t answer his radio, his fellow agents began searching for him and eventually found him at about 4:15 p.m., Tucson Sector Chief Roy Villareal said at a Monday news conference.

The FBI is investigating, but Villareal said “it appears” Hotten had fallen on rugged terrain.

“When Agent Hotten was found unresponsive, it appears that he had fallen and may have hit his head on some rocks, but again at this stage we don’t know that was the cause of death,” Villareal said.

Responding agents provided first aid and performed CPR for about two hours before carrying him out of the mountainous terrain to be airlifted.

“Tucson Sector is grieving today and our condolences are with Agent Hotten’s family, friends, and colleagues during this difficult time,” Villareal said in a news release. “Our agents are assigned a dangerous mission in keeping our nation safe, and they risk their lives every day in the line-of-duty. I cannot express the sadness we feel when we lose one of our own. Even as we grieve, we will continue to put service before self and honor first. I thank the brave men and women who take this risk in service to our country.”

Hotten joined the Border Patrol on Sept. 10, 2009. He is survived by his wife, son, mother and brother.

Border Patrol to Test New, Smaller Drones at Tucson Sector

Drone via CBP.

Drone via CBP.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Border Patrol hopes to add smaller drones to its surveillance arsenal and will begin testing the unmanned aircraft this month in the Tucson sector, Tucson.com reports

The agency uses bigger drones, but Border Patrol is looking for something that is small enough to easily transport and fly in hard-to-access areas.

Agents will test three series of drones: Puma, Raven and InstantEye Quadcopter.

The drones may also include sensors, infrared cameras and facial-recognition technology. 

Other Stories of Interest

Border Patrol Tries to Fill Vacancies with Former Agents As Immigration Crackdown Continues

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. Border Patrol is reaching out to former agents in hopes of filling enough jobs to carry out President Trump’s expanded crackdown on illegal immigration.

The Tucson Sector tweeted Thursday, “Tucson Sector is seeking to reinstate agents who voluntarily separated #USBC over 12 mo. ago.”

“We are trying to hire for attrition, meet mandates of staffing levels, there’s an executive order that we’re trying to hire more agents and that’s one of the messages we want to send out is that we’re hiring and this is a way we can reach potential applicants that have been cleared as agents,” Agent Christopher Sullivan in the Tucson Sector Border Patrol public affairs office explained to Tucson News Now.

Hiring former agents is easier than hiring new ones because they’ve already passed a background check and have experience that doesn’t require as training.

“Some of the benefits of rehiring previous agents is that they don’t have to travel to the academy and get retrained. They’re already trained as agents previously, so it saves us money as in training costs and it also strea

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

File photo of a Border Patrol agent. A

mlines the hiring process,” said Sullivan.

To learn more about the rehiring process, click here.

Border Patrol Continues Search for Canine That Went Missing on Feb. 20

Dunja has been missing since

Dunja has been missing since Feb. 20.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol canine that went missing during a tracking operation in Arizona on Feb. 20 has not been found.

Dunja, a dog used by the Tucson Sector Border Patrol, was separated from his handler during an operation on the Tohono O’odham Nation near Papago Farms, Tucson News Now reports. 

Agents continue to search for Dunja, who is 4 years old and has worked with the Border Patrol since August 2016.

The Tucson Sector has more than 100 canines.

The dogs can fetch up to $10,000 because they are already trained.

“They do go through several weeks of training,” said  Daniel Hernandez, spokesman with the Tucson sector. “The canines become a team within the agent and they spend a very long time together as a partner. Conducting all kinds of simulations at the training facility. So there is a huge bond between the canine and the handler.”

Other Stories of Interest