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Updated Feb 29, 2012 - 5:27 pm

BLM operation nets 7.5 tons of garbage near border

An Arizona Bureau of Land Management cleanup team is shown. (Photo: Arizona Bureau of Land Management)

The Arizona Bureau of Land Management has completed its fourth anti-smuggling operation and brought in a good haul from a popular corridor used by smugglers and illegal immigrants.

During these operations, BLM brings additional law enforcement rangers to state-owned land to clean-up the area, confiscate any drugs left behind and possibly arrest any suspicious persons found in the area.

The most recent operation was called Operation ROAM (Reclaim Our Arizona Monuments) and focused on the Ironwood Forest and Sonoran Desert National Monuments.

The operation pulled out 7.5 tons of trash from both monuments and saw 228 law enforcement events, including the seizure of nearly 4,000 pounds of marijuana and the arrests of 223 suspected illegal immigrants.

Crew members reported finding just about everything, but said cell phones were very popular. One found an automatic rifle, complete with loaded clips.

Most of the trash was found near Interstate 8, but Melinda Mahoney, a BLM park ranger, said it looks like things are getting better.

"I think we're making a difference," she said in a press release. "We're hearing from the rangers, especially those that are returning from last year, that it looks a lot cleaner."

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