MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. -- Maricopa County Sheriff's deputies seized nearly 150 pounds of marijuana and arrested three alleged smugglers Thursday night.
Deputies working in southern Maricopa County initiated a traffic stop on two vehicles apparently traveling together. Deputies reportedly observed marijuana bales and backpackers being loaded into the vehicles as the vehicles were pulled off a freeway.
The first vehicle fled from deputies, eventually crashing into a tree, the sheriff's office said.
The four occupants reportedly fled from the crashed truck, leaving nearly 150 pounds of marijuana behind. They were still outstanding Friday afternoon.
The second vehicle stopped by deputies was occupied by three people, all of whom were taken into custody.
The sheriff's office said a .45-caliber handgun was found inside the second vehicle.
The sheriff's office arrested 28-year-old Cesar O. Castelo-Aguirre, 25-year-old Francisco Ernesto Reyna and 29-year-old Felix Lopez-Saenz. They were booked into the Fourth Avenue Jail.
The sheriff's office said the marijuana was smuggled into the United States from Mexico and has a street value of more than $130,590.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio said his deputies have seized more than 1,500 pounds of marijuana this week and will soon crack down on street-level drug dealers.