Deputies seize 4K pounds of marijuana; arrest alleged human smugglers

Deputies seize 4K pounds of marijuana; arrest alleged human smugglers

Credit: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office

Deputies seize 4K pounds of marijuana; arrest alleged human smugglers

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by Tami Hoey

azfamily.com

Posted on March 22, 2013 at 3:14 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 26 at 11:44 AM

Map: Gila Bend, Ariz.

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PHOENIX -- Acording to the Maricopa County Sheriff's office, deputies recently intercepted two trucks stuffed so full of marijuana, bundles of pot were actually sticking out the windows.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced that two vehicles carrying roughly 3,700 pounds of marijuana were seized Thursday in the Vekol Valley; an area located off Interstate 8 near Gila Bend.  The area is known for heavy drug trafficking.

In addition to the marijuana in the truck, deputies also recovered backpacks containing another 300 pounds of marijuana.

The two half-ton pickup trucks, which may have been stolen, were left abandoned by their drivers. The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Fox 4 helicopter located the two vehicles from the air, despite someone's attempt to conceal the trucks using camouflage tarps and desert cacti to hide them from view.

The discovery and seizure comes on the heels of a two day investigation of this high traffic area.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio says this incident is prompting his office to take new steps against smuggling. "Because these criminals are stashing these drugs in the desert in an attempt to avoid its seizure, my office will be implementing new procedures to assist in finding and arresting these fleeing suspects," Arpaio says.

Also on Thursday, The Human Smuggling Unit of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office took nine people into custody. The arrests came after authorities pulled over a mid-sized SUV for speeding in northern Maricopa County.

Four of the people in the SUV were booked into Fourth Avenue Jail on charges related to human smuggling. The remaining five suspects, including two juveniles, were turned over to officials from ICE for border violation issues.

The suspects are from El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico, and were said to be headed to Oregon and Nevada.

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