Arrest for illegal purchase, possession and sale drugs concept. Drugs as pills near handcuff on blue background top view copy space

Carlos Victor Passapera Pinott, 53, of Buckeye, was arrested Aug. 9 on multiple counts of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances. 

Passapera was charged by complaint and had his initial appearance Aug. 10 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie A. Bowman of the District of Arizona. He was assigned to the Tucson Sector Ajo Border Patrol Station.

According to the complaint, Passapera left his residence and drove south to a remote area of the border west of the Lukeville Port of Entry at about 3:15 a.m. Aug. 9. 

Passapera then drove to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, where he loaded two duffel bags into another vehicle. Law enforcement agents stopped the driver of that vehicle after it left the airport and searched the duffel bags. The bags contained multiple packages of substances that field tested positive for the characteristics of cocaine (21 kilograms), heroin (1 kilogram) and fentanyl (1 kilogram). The bags also contained approximately 350,000 pills. A sample from the pills field tested positive for the characteristics of fentanyl. 

Law enforcement agents took Passapera into custody later that day while executing a search warrant at his residence. During the search, agents found approximately $329,000 in U.S. currency in Passapera’s residence, and an additional $40,000 in the vehicle Passapera used to transport the illegal narcotics. 

Convictions for conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute controlled substances carry a maximum penalty of life in prison, a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years, and up to a $10 million fine.

The charges resulted from an investigation led by the FBI’s Southern Arizona Corruption Task Force, the Homeland Security Investigations, NATIVE Task Force in Sells, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tucson is handling the prosecution.