Federal agents on the Arizona-Mexico border are predicting another record year for pot seizures, which have jumped more than 440 percent during the past decade, says the Arizona Republic. Agents have intercepted more than 168,000 pounds of marijuana since Oct. 1. Last year, agents in southern Arizona confiscated a record amount of pot: more than 400 tons. For decades, smugglers have used southern Arizona’s canyons and deserts to import drugs, but never has such a large volume of drugs flowed north. Funneled into Arizona by federal crackdowns in Texas and California, smugglers are growing increasingly violent and creative.
“We all have bounties on our heads,” said Jim Hawkins, a Border Patrol agent, as he searched for marijuana smugglers outside Nogales. He walked up and down steep, rocky hills near the border toting a rifle and wearing a bulletproof vest. “It’s all part of the game,” he said. Tony Ryan, Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman, said officials have identified scores of drug-trafficking organizations in Sonora and Arizona, which share roughly 350 miles of border.