$9M worth of drugs seized near Maricopa

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Jessica Velasco By Jennifer Thomas Jessica Velasco By Jennifer Thomas
Jessica Velasco By Jennifer Thomas Jessica Velasco By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

MARICOPA, Ariz. -- Pinal County authorities seized nearly $9 million worth of methamphetamines and heroin during a traffic stop Friday.

A sheriff's deputy stopped a 2005 Nissan Armada traveling northbound on State Route 347 just south of Maricopa at approximately 9 p.m.

The front-seat passenger opened his door and ran into the desert, according to Tim Gaffney with the Pinal County Sheriff's Office. He was described as a Hispanic male wearing jeans and a blue-and-gray striped shirt.

The driver was identified as Jessica Velasco, 28, of Stanfield, Ariz.

Gaffney said deputies saw several packages of what they believed to be illegal drugs inside the vehicle and asked Velasco about them. She reportedly stated, "Nothing in the vehicle is mine, the vehicle belongs to my husband and he is going to be pissed, I'm not a bad guy, just did a bad thing."

The investigation revealed that several individuals had smuggled the drugs from Mexico through the desert and up into Pinal County where they were loaded into the Nissan for delivery throughout the United States.

The vehicle contained 196.9 pounds of methamphetamines and 102.65 pounds of black tar heroin.

Velasco was booked into the Pinal County Adult Detention Center for one count each of the following: possession of a dangerous drug, possession of a dangerous drug for sale, transportation of a dangerous drug, possession of a narcotic drug, possession of a narcotic drug for sale and transportation of a narcotic drug. She is currently being held on a $500,000 bond

Authorities are still searching for the passenger. Anyone with information about his identity or whereabouts is asked to contact the Pinal County Sheriff's Office at 520-866-5111.