Ariz. AG announces breakup of big drug ring

Posted: Updated:
Law enforcement officials say they've broken up a ring that smuggled thousands of pounds of marijuana a year for three years from Mexico into Pinal County. By Jennifer Thomas Law enforcement officials say they've broken up a ring that smuggled thousands of pounds of marijuana a year for three years from Mexico into Pinal County. By Jennifer Thomas
Law enforcement officials say they've broken up a ring that smuggled thousands of pounds of marijuana a year for three years from Mexico into Pinal County. By Jennifer Thomas Law enforcement officials say they've broken up a ring that smuggled thousands of pounds of marijuana a year for three years from Mexico into Pinal County. By Jennifer Thomas
Law enforcement officials say they've broken up a ring that smuggled thousands of pounds of marijuana a year for three years from Mexico into Pinal County. By Jennifer Thomas Law enforcement officials say they've broken up a ring that smuggled thousands of pounds of marijuana a year for three years from Mexico into Pinal County. By Jennifer Thomas
Roberto Hernandez By Jennifer Thomas Roberto Hernandez By Jennifer Thomas
Fernando Magallanez Orona By Jennifer Thomas Fernando Magallanez Orona By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Law enforcement officials say they've broken up a ring that smuggled thousands of pounds of marijuana a year for three years from Mexico into Pinal County.

Attorney General Terry Goddard, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Elizabeth W. Kempshall announced 21 indictments in the case on Monday. They say the group was led by Roberto Hernandez, of Arizona City, and sent the pot to cities across the nation from Pinal County.

Investigators first learned of the group when a Pinal County deputy made a traffic stop last December and found a driver was
ferrying more than $228,000 in cash.

The DEA and the sheriff's narcotics task force then discovered an elaborate drug smuggling organization that brought marijuana through the Tohono O'Odham Nation and into Pinal County.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)