Smugglers Threaten Police in Arizona Border City After 400 Pound Marijuana Bust

Stock Photo (CBS/AP)

PHOENIX (CBS/AP) Police in the Arizona border city of Nogales are watching their backs and have been told to carry guns when they aren't at work after smugglers threatened to retaliate against two off-duty officers who stopped a vehicle carrying 400 pounds of marijuana.

Nogales Police Chief Jeff Kirkham said Tuesday that he considers the threat credible because various informants were able to identify the specific officers in the city of 20,000 who thwarted the drug load earlier this month.

"Are they credible? Yes," Kirkham said. "Are they going to carry through with those threats? I don't know."

Kirkham said the U.S. Border Patrol has sent additional agents to the area east of the city where the off-duty officers, who were riding horses, stopped the smugglers during the first week of June.

The smugglers left behind their vehicle and fled into Mexico, while the two armed officers guarded the vehicle and its drugs.

No one was injured in the bust, and there hasn't been any retaliation against officers.

Nogales police managers advised off-duty officers to carry their guns, avoid the part of the desert where the bust was made, and carry a cell phone or police radio to report retaliation attempts or anything suspicious.

The police chief said he believes this is the first threat made by smugglers on an officer in his city and that his city doesn't have the cartel murders that are seen in communities south of the border.