PCSO seizes more than 2 tons of pot
9 arrested, gun and ammo found
The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office helped to seize more than 2 tons of marijuana and arrested 9 people in drug and human smuggling enforcement operations in the Vekol Valley last week, a department spokesman said Sunday.
During a three-day multi-agency operation, 3,308 pounds of marijuana was seized and six illegal immigrants were apprehended, PCSO's Elias Johnson said.
Two vehicles loaded with marijuana were discovered in separate incidents in thick brush.
A truck was tracked early Friday morning and was found abandoned with 1,500 pounds of pot.
A second truck was found early Saturday after Search and Rescue personnel tracked it to a trail south of Interstate 8 and Freeman Road. The truck, which was stolen, was carrying 1,808 pounds of marijuana, Johnson said.
Deputies also apprehended six illegal immigrants Thursday morning near Stanfield Road, south of I-8, Johnson said.
Besides PCSO's Search and Rescue and SWAT, other agencies involved in the operation included the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Bureau of Land Management, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Border Patrol and the Gila River Police Department.
In other activity, PCSO deputies seized 700 pounds of marijuana, a handgun and ammunition, and arrested two men in separate incidents on Nov. 14.
A deputy stopped a car that was speeding on east I-10 and saw two bundles of marijuana in the backseat. More bundles were found in the trunk of the car. The marijuana weighed 250 pounds, Johnson said.
The driver, Leeh Bernice Liston, 42, of Tucson, and her passenger, Manuel Lopez Gomez, of Mexico, were charged with transporting marijuana for sale. Gomez also will be charged with being in the country illegally.
In the second incident, a deputy stopped a speeding SUV on Stanfield Road. The driver fled the vehicle into a field. A male passenger was ordered from the vehicle and the deputy saw several bundles of marijuana in the backseat covered by a tarp, Johnson said.
Twenty bundles of marijuana, weighing 450 pounds, were found in the SUV. The passenger was found to be carrying a 9mm handgun, magazine and 32 rounds of ammunition. The man, who was believed to be in the country illegally, was turned over to the Border Patrol, Johnson said.