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Tucson Border Patrol agent arrested in drug trafficking case
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Tucson Border Patrol agent arrested in drug trafficking case

A worker smooths out the foundation of a newly installed section of wall along the U.S.-Mexico border east of Lukeville.

A Border Patrol agent working in Ajo was arrested Sunday on drug-smuggling charges after investigators say he drove a load of heroin, fentanyl and cocaine to the Phoenix airport.

Carlos Victor Passapera Pinott was charged Monday after federal agents allegedly tracked him from a remote border area to the airport and then found nearly $370,000 in cash in his SUV at his house, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday by a special agent with the FBI in Tucson’s federal court.

Passapera was accused of driving from the Border Patrol’s Ajo Station, part of the Tucson sector, to a desert area west of the Lukeville Port of Entry about 5:30 a.m. on Sunday. That’s about 150 miles southwest of Tucson.

He then drove to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and parked his Ford Explorer, according to the complaint.

Soon after, an alleged co-conspirator parked next to Passapera, according to the complaint. Passapera got out of his SUV, retrieved two duffel bags from his trunk and placed them in the other vehicle, the complaint says.

After agents stopped Passapera and the co-conspirator, they found the duffel bags filled with 46 pounds of cocaine and about 2 pounds each of heroin and fentanyl. Officers also found 350,000 pills that have initially tested positive for fentanyl, according to the complaint.

Some $329,000 in cash was found Sunday during a search of Passapera’s house in Buckeye, the complaint says. Another $40,000 in cash allegedly was found in his SUV.

A monsoon storm on Aug. 1st near Hereford, Ariz. washed out trenches across the San Pedro River that were the foundation for a new U.S./Mexico border wall.

Contact reporter Curt Prendergast at 573-4224 or or on Twitter @CurtTucsonStar

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