UPS drug smuggling, UPS employees busted in ‘sophisticated’ drug.
Eleven people were arrested Thursday following a two-week-long enforcement activity related to an investigation into drug and money laundering.
According to U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations and Tucson Police Department began the operation in 2017 after the officers learned that drug trafficking organizations were transporting narcotics from Tucson to the eastern part of the U.S. through United Parcel Service employees. HSI said this method was also used to transport U.S. currency to Tucson.
After further investigation, the officers learned that the involved UPS drivers and supervisors reportedly used methods to prevent law enforcement and other employees from identifying and intercepting the narcotics.
“This investigation has identified and mitigated vulnerabilities in the shipping infrastructure that has allowed for the undetected trafficking of narcotics for more than a decade,” CNA Commander John Leavitt said. “It would not be possible to successfully prosecute these criminals without the expertise, resources, and commitment from our federal law enforcement partners. HSI through the Tucson Financial Task Force, was an absolutely essential partner in moving this case to prosecution. A dozen other agencies had a part of this tremendous effort largely because of the leadership within those agencies, and because of the coordination of the Arizona HIDTA.”
HSI said the following people were arrested for charges including narcotic smuggling, drug possession,
drug possession for sale, money laundering, conspiracy and misconduct involving weapons.
• Fernando Navarro-Figueroa, 32
• Raul Garcia Cordova, 47
• Abraham Felix-Navarro, 27
• Heriberto Martinez-Bojorquez, 24
• Thomas Mendoza, 47
• Victor Molina, 32
• Mario Barcelo, 49
• Michael Castro, 34
• Jonathan Gallegos, 26
• Gary Love, 40
• Martin Siqueiros, 31
Authorities say items seized in connection to the investigation include distribution quantities of narcotics, commercial-grade equipment used to manufacture illicit drugs and about 50,000 counterfeit THC vape pens.
The bulk currency involved and other items, such as a Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Raptor trucks and a Range Rover, were taken for seizure consideration.
“This investigation’s success is a direct result of the strong partnership between HSI Tucson and our local, state and federal law enforcement partners,” said Chad Plantz, deputy special agent in charge for HSI Tucson. “Close coordination between law enforcement agencies and harnessing our collective resources is essential to ensuring alleged criminals like those arrested are removed from our community.”