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Seven Drug Smugglers Plead Guilty And Are Sentenced

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

National Park News

Last July, rangers arrested seven smugglers and seized 375 pounds of marijuana near Ajo Mountain Drive during a tactical tracking operation. A special agent from the NPS Investigative Services Branch assisted rangers in the investigation of the case. ISB special agents from the Grand Canyon also joined in to provide assistance, given the large number of defendants. The defendants were prosecuted under violations of 21 USC. Between February 16th and March 4th, Joan Parra-Bermudez, Enrique Flores-Ramos, Jorge Hernandez-Ipolito, Teodoro Valdez-Gutierrez, Jesus Moreno-Sanchez, Francisco Leon-Gonzalez, and Luis Expinoza-Garcia each pled guilty and was sentenced to 13 months in federal prison and three years’ probation. The seven will be remanded to federal immigration authorities upon their release for deportation proceedings. Ajo Mountain Drive, the area of the park where the smugglers were detected and apprehended, is one of the most frequently visited areas of Organ Pipe and is open year-round to visitors and employees. The utilization of NPS operational leadership principles resulted in the safe and successful detection and removal of these smugglers in keeping with the Service’s mission to protect park visitors, employees, and resources. The United States Attorney’s Office in Tucson, Arizona, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and U.S. Border Patrol provided outstanding cooperation and assistance throughout this case.


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