Border Patrol agents from the Ajo Station seized more weed in the last three days than Cheech & Chong could've smoked in their heyday times 10.
In the last 72 hours, agents seized 3,000 pounds of weed, in three separate incidents, near the U.S./ Mexico border south of Tucson and, although suspects were spotted by agents in two of the three incidents, no arrests were made.
The most significant of the three busts happened on Monday, when agents responded to a suspicious vehicle spotted by an agent using a handheld infrared camera.
When agents got to the truck, they found it was abandoned but full of about 2,000 pounds of pot.
The agent who spotted the vehicle saw two people fleeing the area back toward Mexico, but agents were unable to apprehend them.
We see a lot of big-time weed seizures where nobody gets arrested, so we spoke with Border Agent David Jimarez to find out why.
"The cartels always have the upper hand on us," Jimarez says. "They have scouts and whenever agents approach, the suspects already know we're coming."
Jimarez says when agents find a truck or large quantity of weed, they can't abandon it to track down suspects and often have to wait as long as 30 minutes before back up arrives.
The slow response time, Jimarez says, is because of the huge area agents are responsible for patroling.
The solution, Jimarez says, is something he calls "the proper mix" of technology, infrastructure (or in the words of John McCain "the danged fence"), and personnel.
We posted a poll earlier this week asking readers if huge weed busts taking place near the border have made it any more difficult to find weed in Phoenix. While the poll was anything but scientific, the majority of respondents said no, but Jimarez points out that busts like these are important because the money that would be generated by selling the drugs -- in this case $2.5 million -- isn't making it to the streets.
"That's money that's not going to the cartels," he says.