STANFIELD, Ariz. – A Pinal County Sheriff’s Deputy patrolling the Interstate 8 corridor was in for a surprise when he tried to stop a stolen SUV. Turns out, the vehicle was carrying a huge load of ammunition.
The deputy first spotted the SUV on the night of Dec. 8, driving southbound, leaving the town of Stanfield.
When the deputy checked the vehicle’s registration using the computer in his vehicle, he discovered it had been reported stolen by the registered owner. The vehicle was reported to the Phoenix Police Department as stolen the day before.
The deputy then tried to initiate a traffic stop, but the driver did not pull over.
Instead, he reportedly took off through the desert. Officers from the Gila River Police Department and the Bureau of Land Management responded and assisted the deputy with tracking the vehicle.
The deputy pursued the vehicle for about a mile. But the driver apparently ditched the vehicle and fled on foot. The SUV was found abandoned in the desert nearby.
Inside of the vehicle, deputies located 4,550 rounds of .38 caliber Super+P handgun ammunition.
“38 Super ammunition is very popular in Mexico where it’s the most powerful pistol cartridge available to civilians, “said Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu. “It’s believed that the stolen vehicle was being used as a southbound re-supply load vehicle transporting ammunition that was intended for unlawful or smuggling related purposes.”