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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Four teenage girls have been arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle heroin into southern Arizona on a commercial shuttle from Mexico, federal authorities said.

Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents working at the Interstate 19 checkpoint south of Amado took the girls into custody Monday. U.S. customs officials said Thursday that one of the girls is 17 and the other three are age 15.

All four girls live in Nogales, Sonora in Mexico, but two are U.S. citizens. Their names weren't being released because they are juveniles, CBP officials said.

The girls were apprehended after agents at the checkpoint referred a commercial shuttle from Mexico for inspection. When a 15-year-old passenger behaved nervously during questioning, agents searched her bags and reported finding bundles of heroin strapped to her body.

CBP officials said the other girls also had heroin strapped to the front of their bodies and tucked under the waistbands of their underwear.

They said the nearly eight pounds of heroin had an estimated street value of $90,000.

The teens have been turned over to the Santa Cruz County sheriff's office.

CBP officials said in a statement that ``smuggling operations are becoming more desperate and are willing to use every avenue they can to successfully move their product, even if it means exploiting juveniles.''

Associated Press,

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