Suspected smugglers, convicted rapist nabbed
Seven alleged drug smugglers backpacking marijuana through the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, as well as a convicted rapist, were arrested this week by U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Yuma Sector's Wellton Station.
According to Agent Kyle Estes of the Yuma Sector Communications Division, late Wednesday night agents began tracking footprints that had crossed the Camino Del Diablo trail and eventually overtook a group of seven smugglers who were carrying backpacks filled with marijuana.
The marijuana had a combined weight of 337 pounds and an estimated street value of $168,500.
Estes said the following day, agents responded to a citizen's report of a possible undocumented alien near Sentinel, Ariz., and arrested a male Mexican national illegally present in the United States.
A background check revealed that the man had numerous felony convictions, including rape in Twin Falls, Idaho, possession of marijuana for sale in Phoenix, and several deportations.
Yuma-area residents can help the Border Patrol by calling 1-866-999-8727 toll-free to report suspicious activity. Callers can remain anonymous.
James Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6854. Find him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/YSJamesGilbert or on Twitter @YSJamesGilbert.