According to multiple reports, U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint operations on Interstate 10 near Ehrenberg this past week have resulted in multiple high speed pursuits as motorists with marijuana in their vehicles try to evade law enforcement. The knowledge that Border Patrol was staging checkpoints on the freeway may also have caused traffic to route around them through Parker.
According to the Desert Messenger, on Wednesday Border Patrol agents seized more than $76,000 in marijuana and three weapons during separate incidents involving pursuits. In each case, the incidents involved vehicles alerted by canine teams who sped away through the checkpoint after being asked to pull into a secondary inspection lane.
One pursuit ended when the driver crashed into a concrete barrier and fled on foot. The U.S. citizen’s vehicle allegedly contained 147 pounds of marijuana. A suitcase containing nearly 5 pounds of marijuana was reportedly thrown from a second vehicle before the vehicle stopped for law enforcement, who recovered it. A third vehicle had about a pound of marijuana in it, according to the article.
Parker Live asked La Paz County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Curt Bagby about reports that traffic had been voluntarily re-routing through the Parker area to avoid the Border Patrol operations.
“It’s certainly possible,” he said, adding that it doesn’t take long for information about law enforcement activity to spread. “The checkpoints were a couple of miles east of Ehrenberg, so anybody wanting to avoid contact with Border Patrol would definitely have a strong motivation to come up on the rural highways instead of using the 10.”
The reports shed light on how commonly Interstate 10 is used as a drug trafficking corridor, and how much of the time the drug involved is marijuana, which is proposed for legalization in California and Arizona on November 8th. Both propositions are showing strong support for legalization among likely voters, with around half of voters in favor.