Pinal Co. deputies arrest 13 for drug, human smuggling
Pinal County Sheriff's deputies arrested 13 people accused of human and drug smuggling on Sunday and Monday, a PCSO spokesman said Tuesday.
A deputy on patrol Sunday night pulled over a minivan after the driver failed to stop before turning onto S.R. 84 near Casa Grande. The deputy noticed five men lying on the floor in the back of the van, said spokesman Elias Johnson in a Tuesday press release.
The driver, Stephen Cortez, 21, and his mother, Celia Ramirez, 54, both of Casa Grande, told the deputy they did not know the men in the van. The men later admitted to being in the country illegally, Johnson said.
The deputy found two bags of marijuana while searching the vehicle. Cortez and Ramirez were charged with drug possession and human smuggling. Cortez, Ramirez and the five men were turned over to the Border Patrol.
On Monday morning, a deputy tried to pull over an SUV for a traffic violation near Harmon and Toltec roads. The driver of the vehicle sped off then stopped on Curry Road.
Six people bailed out of the SUV and fled into a cotton field. The Border Patrol were called in to assist and were able to capture four of the people who were held for illegal entry into the United States, Johnson said.
Also on Monday morning, a deputy on patrol on I-8 near Stanfield noticed three vehicles traveling in tandem and speeding. Other deputies were called in to assist and they attempted to pull over the vehicles, Johnson said.
One of the drivers stopped abruptly and three people fled the car into the desert.
The deputy found eight bundles of marijuana in the back seat and in the trunk. The drugs weighed 332 pounds, Johnson said.
When another deputy tried to pull over the second vehicle, the driver stopped and seven people fled into the desert. The driver, Jose Hurtado, 22, of Phoenix, was arrested and charged with possession, transporting marijuana, and conspiracy, Johnson said.
A deputy was able to pull over the third vehicle and arrested the driver, Edgar Larios, 30, of Casa Grande. He also was charged with possession, transporting marijuana, and conspiracy, Johnson said.