Man charged with drowning friend near Lake Pleasant

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Police have charged an El Mirage man in the drowning death of his friend near Lake Pleasant Saturday. 

Peoria detectives say  Eduardo Mercado, 20, repeatedly held Rueben Diaz, 21, under water during a scuffle at a private pond just south of Lake Pleasant.

A third man, Julian Tamayo, 26, has been charged with hindering prosecution and aggravated assault on a police officer.

Police say the suspects admitted they were using meth when they stole two paddle boats belonging to the Maricopa Water District, which maintains a private pond south of Lake Pleasant. 

According to police, the three men had tied two paddle boats together when Mercado got angry with Diaz because he started paddling his boat in the opposite direction that Mercado and Tamayo were paddling.  An argument ensued and police say Mercado threw Diaz into the water and stopped him from getting back aboard the boats.

Mercado allegedly jumped in the water and repeatedly held Diaz under water until he disappeared.

Mercado and Tamayo returned to the shore where witnesses detained them until police arrived.

Maricopa County Sheriff Office divers recovered Diaz's body Sunday morning.