A hefty drug bust in Pinal County with a twist

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by Crystal Cruz

azfamily.com

Posted on November 2, 2011 at 7:08 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 2 at 8:20 AM

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. -- There was a hefty drug bust in Pinal County Monday, but this net has a twist.

"What we have here is heroin. Heroin valued at $1.5 million," said Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu.
 
The sheriff said the bust nearly cost him the life of a deputy.
 
"This suspect directed his vehicle towards our deputies. The deputy had to leap out of his way to the ground for his own life," Babeu said.
 
Babeu accused Francisco Morales, 36, of taking his men on a wild ride, outside of Stanfield Monday.
 
"This cartel member, This bad guy was driving 50 mph in a school zone with a 15 mph posted limit," Babeu said.
 
It wasn't the first time Morales was cuffed and hauled to jail by Pinal County deputies.
 
PCSO gave 3TV video from just two weeks ago, showing Morales in zip ties.
 
The known Sinaloa gang member was arrested, turned over to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and deported after a drug raid.
 
"This administration continues not to prosecute people here illegally connected with drug trafficking," Babeu complained.
 
In October there wasn't enough evidence to charge Morales so he was deported.
 
It wasn't the first, or even the second time Morales was kicked out of the country; the sheriff said he's been deported numerous times.
 
"This shows a gaping hole in our flawed immigration policy. I don’t know if we have even have one," Babeu said.
 
PCSO wants the catch-and-release game to end.
 
"This is a fact one of my deputies could have been seriously injured or killed yesterday fighting these cartel members," Babeu said.
 
Morales will be prosecuted in Pinal County and faces a long list of charges, including smuggling narcotics.
 

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