Agents say smugglers creating more places to hide illegal drugs
YUMA, Ariz. ( KYMA, KECY) - Agents with the Yuma Sector Border Patrol confirm the agency is seeing an uptick in the number of stash houses county-wide.
"Stash houses" are places where drug dealers and human smugglers hide illicit narcotics, undocumented immigrants, or a combination of both.
So far this year, agents have uncovered seven different stash houses compared. Last year, they only found three. That means cases are up by 50%.
“We sometimes find these stash houses in very unsanitary conditions, poor ventilation, multiple people in a dwelling unit that’s much too small for the number of people we find inside," said Ruthkowski.
The most recent discovery came last week when agents found six undocumented immigrants in a local house. Border Patrol says they expelled four of those migrants under Title 42 back into Mexico.
“The ones we found like in that las case, are usually found within the neighborhood. Many times the neighbors don’t even know that the house next to them is being utilized to stash illegal contraband," said Ruthkowski.
Yuma Sector Special Operation Supervisor, Thomas Rutkowski, tells News 11 he thinks the new border wall is to blame. He believes trafficking networks are finding new ways to get both undocumented immigrants and illegal drugs into the U.S. from different sectors across the southern border.
“We can attribute it to our new infrastructure, our 30 ft. Wall that’s being built within our area of responsibility," said Ruthkowski.