PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. -- More than 1,200 pounds of marijuana was discovered hidden in a truckload of squash, according to Pinal County Sheriff's Office officials.
A K-9 deputy on patrol along Interstate 10 Wednesday noticed a semitruck abruptly change lanes when the driver saw the marked unit sitting in the median, according to spokeswoman Tamra Ingersoll.
The deputy pulled behind the truck and reported seeing the driver change lanes without a turn signal, cut off other vehicles and slow down to 40 mph on the interstate. Ingersoll said the deputy stopped the driver for the traffic violations and immediately smelled marijuana as he approached the truck's trailer.
The driver, identified as Norberto De La Vega, 59, of California, told the deputy he was returning to Los Angeles. The deputy said De La Vega was acting very nervous so he retrieved his canine partner and the dog alerted immediately on the trailer.
The deputy called for backup from the PCSO Narcotics Task Force. Members opened the trailer and found 32 large cardboard vegetable bins full of squash.
Ingersoll said the bins had ventilation-type holes that revealed duct-tape wrapped packages concealed underneath the squash. Deputies discovered a total of 1,243 pounds of marijuana hidden inside the bins. The marijuana has an estimated street value of nearly $925,000.
De La Vega was placed under arrest and faces an array of drug offense charges.
The sheriff's office donated the squash to St. Mary's Food Bank.