When it comes to drug offenses, trafficking is far more serious than possession. It even eclipses charges of sale of illegal drugs due to the quantities that are involved in such a charge.

But perhaps the most serious of all charges is when an individual faces charges of smuggling drugs across an international border.

Teen arrested at border crossing

In October 2018, one of those arrested for methamphetamine smuggling was a 16-year-old resident of the United States. It was federal Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents who were involved in this intercept, as well as six other recent drug arrests.

The agents were in the process of conducting a secondary inspection of a shuttle van at an immigration checkpoint on Interstate 19. The agents then discovered that the teen had a half pound of meth concealed on his body.

In a similar scenario involving a shuttle van, another U.S. citizen — a 39-year-old female — was found to have nearly a pound of meth on her person.

Border agents turned the teen over to deputies with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office (SCCSO). The woman was arrested by federal agents and charged with smuggling.

More smuggling arrests

Also in October, agents with the CBP arrested a Mexican national at the Port of Nogales here in Arizona. She had been attempting to smuggle both meth and heroin into the States. Agents found the drugs after a canine unit alerted them to the center console in the vehicle. Inside was over 11 lbs of heroin, with a street value in excess of $298,000. There was also over 17 lbs of meth, with a value of over $52k.

Teens lured into trafficking?

Smugglers may try to entrap teenagers into “muling” drugs for them across the border. They tend to choose those who look least like typical drug smugglers, and may use teens, kids and the elderly in their drug-running schemes.

Parents may wonder how it was ever possible that their teen got caught up in nefarious activities at such a young age. But the promise of easy money for walking or riding across the border with illegal drugs can be a powerful motivating force. This is especially true if the teenager has already been exposed to drugs and is a user.

Parents, take swift action

If your child is arrested for any drug offense here in Arizona, it’s imperative that parents quickly intervene. Timely intervention may change the trajectory of a criminal case, especially when a youthful offender with no previous criminal record is involved.