Forget fancy schmancy: Old-fashioned tracking leads Border Patrol to 3,500 pounds of marijuana

While we are thrilled with night vision goggles, ground sensors, radar, hidden cameras and other hi-tech gizmos to nab illegal border activity, we can’t forget the less complicated stuff.

Border Patrol marijuana seizure from good old-fashioned tracking/submitted photo

Like simple tracks in the sand.

Such seemingly banal – or forgotten – prints across desert terrain led U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Ajo Station to not one but two major marijuana seizures, according to a news release from the Department of Homeland Security.

The first went down Sept. 11 when agents from the all-terrain vehicle unit were tracking “foot signs” of a group of suspected illegal aliens about 20 miles west of Lukeville. While the agents were not able to nab the backpackers themselves, the did run across 84 bundles of marijuana weighing more than 1,730 pounds and worth an “estimated value” of $1.3 million.

Agents patrolling south of State Route 86 found a similar stash after following fresh tire tracks on the morning of Sept. 13. They followed the tracks about 50 yards to find an abandoned SUV stuffed with 100 bundles of marijuana. This haul weighed in at more than 1,780 pounds and has an “estimated value” of $1.4 million. Again, no suspects were found, but at least the stash was seized.

Both loads of marijuana went directly to the Ajo Station for processing and will be turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Since Oct. 1, 2009, to Aug. 31, 2010, the Tucson Sector Border Patrol has seized more than 940,000 pounds of pot worth more than $752 million, the release said. It did not note how many busts were due to good old-fashioned methods.

While we much enjoy some modern conveniences, and cannot even imagine typing on those clickety-clack typewriters rather than automatically spell-checked computers, we very much dig when the simple things beat out the fancy schmancy. We also dig the days before cell phones.


What do you think?

What other situations are benefited from going back to basics?

Do you have faith in other old-fashioned methods or are you a hi-tech person only?

Are you scared of computers?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at
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20 Responses to Forget fancy schmancy: Old-fashioned tracking leads Border Patrol to 3,500 pounds of marijuana

  1. AlansK says:

    What a waste of time and tax payer money. If we legalize marijuana it would be dirt cheap and drug cartels would loose most of their income without spending any tax payer money.

    • Rynski says:

      …but then it would take a big chunk out of the fun of tracking down drugs in the desert….
      seriously, though, you may be right. every day it seems we get another release about another major haul of marijuana. that yearly total of “940,000 pounds of pot worth more than $752 million” is nothing at which to scoff.
      would such legalization work though or just cause it’s own set of problems?

  2. andrew farley says:

    Then we can live happily with addle-minded kids, parents and old folks rolling joints and having coffee and a “bong”. Save our taxes and buy some more cheap pot, wow, what a grand idea. Peace and love, not war.

    • Rynski says:

      already one dissenter on the legalization issue. hey, i would not smoke it either way, legal or not – perhaps not everyone would want such mind-addling, no?

    • leftfield says:

      Now, you’re starting to make sense, Andrew.  Throw out the booze and light up the bong!

      • fraser007 says:

        I dont think you actually believe that. Bongs , Booze. Legal drugs. And all of the Cartels will just go away?? Sure.
        The drugs have screwed a decent % of our Black citizens, Yuppie Scum in the burbs would love the legal drugs. And 28,000 dead mexicans. (how many were Cartel soldiers, so do we care, no)
        You never had to help your child beat a drug habit. So save your cute slogans for someone who is ignorant.

      • leftfield says:

        I’m just not entirely sure what you’re saying here, fraser.  Anyway, I do favor an end to prohibition.  If it were my choice to prohibit anything, it would certainly be the most dangerous drug of all: alcohol.  Given only a choice between the two, I would much prefer fraser smoke a big blunt than hit the bottle.

        You never had to help your child beat a drug habit.

        How can you be sure?  Anyway, I think we can both agree that addiction is a terrible thing.  I don’t agree that prohibition is the cure. 

      • fraser007 says:

        If you had to help a child get off of drugs I feel for you. I understand.
        I have lost two friends to DUI drivers. Both horrible accidents. I dont think we can prohibit booze any more. I just dont think we need to legalize drugs.  And I dont do either!!

  3. Alan in Kent WA says:

    The easiest way to locate dope is to have an old friend from the Eastside, S____ S____ go hang out with those who he things have a stash, and eventually they will give him some just to leave.

    I like the power of Captain Kirk in the palm of my hand.  Serious side, this is probably the best time to be involved with things like music, as a whole world is opened up that previously had “gatekeepers” (record companies etc.) and now all of that is open for all due to the new technology. 

    I like my cell phone, as its games keep me occupied as my wife shops at Kohls.

    • Rynski says:

      EXCELLENT cell phone point on men needing it for women’s shopping sprees, alan in kent wa. valid info for women everywhere, lest men not accompany us on such sprees.
      i must add, however, my beau enjoys the shopping sprees and hates the cell phone as much as i do (hahah).
      also agree with you on MUSIC and technology. heck, we can now sit at our computer and broadcast a whole radio show that’s heard on the internet as well as FM station in ny.
      also very interesting dope nabbing idea….people always pay off the hangers-on who don’t want to seem to leave….

  4. azmouse says:

    Good job busting the bad guys!

    As for technology, I’ve never been a huge fan…although I love my cellphone with internet so I can chime in on here from work.

  5. radmax says:

    Howdy Rynski! If my cellphone never rang again, I’d be a happy camper…though I’m sure my 11 year old daughter would be horrified at the thought. Her world seems to revolve around ‘social networking’. Thank God she is also very active, I can see why so many kids these days have concerns with weight and obesity. Geez, without the ‘toys’, there is nothing to do… 😉

    • Rynski says:

      hiya radmax –
      i think most 11-year-olds would freak if their cellphones were to disappear, or at least that’s the feeling i get from what i read, see and hear, like the tale about my little cousin who was shocked when his grandma didn’t have unlimited texting – hahahhahaha.
      i also think that kids were much more creative, however, when they were forced to play outside with things like bottle caps and sticks rather than sitting around inside turning pasty wan and pushing on little keyboard buttons.

    • azmouse says:

      Hey Maxxie! I have to agree I cringe whenever my cellphone rings. Argh. Always at the most inopportune time.

  6. tiponeill says:

    Great job as usual, now we can be sure that the marijuana supply has been cut off and the War on Drugs is a success.
    (This piece of sarcasm, as usual, is the same one posted weekly for the last 30 years)

  7. leftfield says:

    Meanwhile, given that less than 10% of the drugs coming over the border are intercepted, this means somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 million pounds coming over in the same time period.  The only people benefitting are the cartels and their competitors, the DEA, police, prisons, lawyers and judges.  So, we are supporting these huge industries and still getting all the pot we need.  Is this a great country or what?

  8. fraser007 says:

    I have no cellphone. There is nobody that important that I need to talk to. I have caller ID on my house phone. That way they cant “leave a message” then wonder why I have not “returned” their call. The caller ID allows me to just hang up on a phone sales person or ignore an I.R. (irritating relative).
    I dont have a Blackberry, cell phone wih a camera, apps all that crap. Its great to have all that technology at your fingertips but ……I pick and choose what I need.
    Computer is great and I have several thousand books to play with.

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