Two drivers of a Mexican tour bus were arrested Wednesday night at an immigration checkpoint after Border Patrol agents discovered they were bringing more than just “tourists” into the United States.
According to a press release from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the tour bus was coming through the Highway 80 immigration checkpoint near Tombstone, Arizona.
The Willcox Station Border Patrol agents identified all tourists on board as Mexican nationals and referred the bus for an immigration inspection.
A Border Patrol canine alerted the agents to an odor coming from the rear of the bus during the inspection procedure. When agents began to search the area, they discovered the real purpose for the tour bus — a hidden compartment near the toilet and behind a cabinet that was packed with 264 blocks of marijuana, estimated to be worth over $159,000.
The two male drivers of the bus, ages 26 and 32, were arrested for drug-smuggling.
Agents seized both the marijuana and the bus, and the Border Patrol said the passengers were taken to a nearby business to await alternate transportation. Whether the passengers were returned to Mexico or allowed to continue their tour into the United States was not clarified in the Border Patrol’s report.
Mexican drug cartels are continually becoming bolder about how they transport drugs into the United States. This summer in California, agents arrested a Mexican national, driving a semi-truck containing one-and-a-half tons of marijuana, with an estimated street value of $1,716,000.
The Trump administration is now allowing border agents to use x-ray technology and other screening methods on every cargo truck that comes across the border, instead of the previous, random-screening method under the Obama administration, according to a report last month.
Below are photos of the tour bus and drugs stashed inside the hidden compartment, courtesy of the Border Patrol.
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