According to a press release from Deputy Lt. Ronnie Jones, Sgt. Kevin Behr and Deputy John Billman were checking out an area in the county known to be a staging area for human smuggling.
They arrived at the area at 4:32 p.m. on June 28 and started finding evidence of activity as soon as they got there.
The deputies spotted some articles of discarded clothing and some empty water bottles.
Then, as they inspected more closely, the two deputies found nine large bundles of marijuana wrapped in plastic.
Each bundle was equipped with ropes that would make it possible for smugglers to carry them as makeshift backpacks.
Jones said it is common for smugglers to have undocumented persons transport illegal drugs with them when they cross the border into Texas.
No persons were found in the area.
The deputies took the bundles to the BCSO offices at the Bee County Jail where they were tagged as evidence, weighed, photographed and stored for later destruction.
The weight of the nine bundles came to a total of 602 pounds.
Sheriff Carlos Carrizales Jr. said that human smuggling is not a new problem in Texas, in spite of the heavy coverage that problem has been given lately in news accounts.
The BCSO has worked closely with state and federal authorities since 2005 in stopping the smuggling of both humans and drugs into Texas.
Carrizales has coordinated over the years with other South Texas sheriffs to form the South Texas Sheriffs’ Alliance.
That organization has secured funding from the federal government’s Operation Border Star. The program provides funds to pay overtime for deputies to concentrate on smuggling from Mexico.
Carrizales said Billman was working on Operation Border Star time when he and Behr discovered the marijuana last weekend.
In just the first half of this year, deputies have seized more than $1,150 pounds of marijuana coming from Mexico.
The sheriff is concerned about the recent upsurge in this type of activity and urges anyone with information regarding human or drug smuggling to contact his office at (362) 362-3221.
Witnesses who wish to remain anonymous may contact the Coastal Bend Crime Stoppers organization at 362-0206 or send an email to the organization at coastalbendcrimestoppers.com.
Information that goes through the Crime Stoppers network could qualify a witness for a reward of up to $1,000 if the information leads to an arrest for smuggling humans or drugs into Texas.
Rewards also could be paid if information leads to the recovery of illegal drugs.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 343-5220, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.