DPS officers scouring desert south of Phoenix after chase

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GILA RIVER INDIAN COMMUNITY, Ariz. – What started as what should have been a routine traffic stop turned into a suspect search in the desert south of Phoenix Tuesday morning.

It started when DPS officers attempted to stop a pickup truck just before 5:30 a.m. It's not clear why officers initiated the stop, but the driver refused to pull over, instead fleeing into the desert.

The chase came to an end when four or five people bailed out of the truck west of State Route 347 and south of Riggs Road.

Aerial video from the scene showed a white pickup truck with both doors open.

A short foot chase ensued but was quickly called off. Officers believe the suspects were armed with AK-47 assault rifles.

A helicopter from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and a DPS tactical team were called out to assist with the search. With officers from Gila River also on the scene, there was a heavy law-enforcement presence in the area.

Investigators are still gathering information, but they believe the incident might be drug related.

No injuries were reported in the course of the chase or the early stages of the search for the suspects.

There's no word yet on any arrests.

Details will be updated as they become available.