The U.S. Border Patrol caught 18 camo-wearing men trying to smuggle 659 pounds of marijuana in backpacks last week through the desert near Gila Bend.
Fourteen of them landed in the Maricopa County Jail's mugshot section, where they stood out for their makeshift uniforms. These guys, no doubt connected to some Mexican drug cartel, know how to dress for success. Everything might have turned out fine but for the efforts of border authorities and their high-tech equipment.
Despite their camouflage outfits, the smugglers were spotted walking through the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Bombing Range south of Gila Bend at about 8:30 p.m. on May 18, their backs hunched over by the weight of their backpacks.
The range is a high-traffic area for Mexican smugglers, the report says, because agents aren't allowed inside while live bombing exercises go on. Agents observed the 18 suspected smugglers on a mobile surveillance system, which consists of a platform of electronic spy gear mounted on a Ford F-450 pickup truck. It can help detect, identify and track people five-to-seven miles out.
A helicopter, airplane and agents on ATVS were directed to the area to capture the smugglers. Some tried to run and hide to escape the chopper's spotlight and Border Patrol dragnet, but all the smugglers were believed to have been arrested.
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A total of slightly more than 659 pounds of marijuana were found in their backpacks.
Some of the smugglers admitted to carrying the pot, while others admitted just to carrying food for the group.
The men were transported to the Maricopa County Jail and booked on suspicion of one count each of transporting marijuana for sale. Here are their mugshots: