NOVEMBER 11, 2015

21 smugglers arrested, 40 eluded capture, 1737 pounds of marijuana seized

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The morning of Nov. 5, Pinal County Sheriff’s detectives worked with the U.S. Border Patrol in the western desert of Pinal County to interdict and seize 1737 pounds of marijuana and arrest 21 drug smugglers from Mexico.

The first contact was made by a PCSO deputy on Interstate 8 near milepost 157 at 2:30 a.m. The deputy observed a Ford Focus sedan pull from the side of the interstate and head eastbound at a high rate of speed. The deputy stopped the car near the Stanfield Road exit. When the deputy approached the car, he noticed six occupants and a camouflaged bale in the back seat that he suspected of being marijuana. One suspect fled from the vehicle and five others were detained. A search of the car netted three bales of marijuana, totaling 150 pounds. Of the five smugglers detained, three were Mexican Nationals in the country illegally and two were U.S. citizens.

The second seizure took place near Meadowview Road and SR 347. A deputy on routine patrol observed a gold minivan turn onto Meadowview from SR 347 at 5:45 a.m. The deputy turned onto Meadowview and saw that the van had pulled to the side of the road and a group of 14 males were running toward the van with large packs. The deputy recognized this as smuggling activity and activated his emergency lights. The males running toward the van all dropped the packs and ran back into the desert. The van was unoccupied when the deputy got to it. The deputy located 14 large bales of marijuana packaged in camouflaged material near the van and in the nearby desert. The total weight of the seized marijuana was 592 pounds. None of the smugglers or van driver were located.

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