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$1.6M of pot seized, 5 arrested in Sierra Vista

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$1.6M of pot seized, 5 arrested in Sierra Vista

Sierra Vista police seized nearly two tons in marijuana and arrested five men, including one Tucsonan, after a traffic stop Friday, officials said.

Police received a report about a suspicious vehicle, prompted by an investigation by Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. A pickup truck towing a flatbed trailer had been seen on Mustang Heights Road in Whetstone being loaded with bales of marijuana, according to a news release Monday.

At about 9:30 p.m., SVPD spotted the truck and trailer at 7th Street and Fry Boulevard. A man, later identified as 22-year-old Gadhi Corelli of Tucson, was seen fleeing the vehicle. Corelli jumped a fence and was pursued by officers on foot, while an additional patrol car continued to follow the truck, the release said.

Corelli was later arrested.

SVPD followed the truck and pulled it over for a traffic violation at 7th Street and Buffalo Soldier Trail. During the stop, officers found several bundles of pot, weighing 1,200 pounds, partially covered in the trailer. The driver, 55-year-old Heinz Scriba of Sierra Vista, was arrested at the scene, the release said.

Officers, along with agents from ICE and Border Patrol, obtained a search warrant for the Whetstone house, in the 2300 block of Mustang Heights Road. There officers and agents discovered another 135 bundles of marijuana, weighing just over 2,600 pounds, the release said. The street value of the marijuana was estimated to be about $1.6 million.

Two more men were arrested during the search at the house, 35-year-old Francisco Lara-Delgado and 25-year-old Omar Galindo Isalva.  Both men were undocumented immigrants from Mexico, the release said.

A fifth man, who was seen loading up the trailer with bales of marijuana, was later identified as 33-year-old Mark Jesus Gomez Gallegos of Mexico, said the release.

All five men were booked into Cochise County Jail.

Scriba and Corella were both charged with transportation of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale. Corella was also charged with  criminal trespassing. Lara-Delgado, Islava, and Gomez-Gallegos were charged with possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to the release. Bond has not been set.

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