Pinal County pursuit ends with drug seizure

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
Pinal County sheriff's deputies seized more than 100 pounds of marijuana following a vehicle pursuit near Maricopa. By Mike Gertzman Pinal County sheriff's deputies seized more than 100 pounds of marijuana following a vehicle pursuit near Maricopa. By Mike Gertzman

MARICOPA, Ariz. -- Pinal County sheriff's deputies seized more than 100 pounds of marijuana following a vehicle pursuit near Maricopa.

Deputies also apprehended an undocumented immigrant who now faces deportation.

The chase happened on Sunday afternoon after a Pinal County deputy in the area of highway 347 at miles post 172 observed a red 2001 Chevrolet pickup swerving while heading northbound in front of him.

The deputy initiated a traffic stop, and the driver of the pickup pulled to the shoulder. As the deputy attempted to make contact with the driver, the vehicle fled the scene at a high rate of speed.

During the vehicle pursuit, the suspect turned off Highway 347 onto West Bowlin Road and then north to North Alterra Parkway where it came to an abrupt stop.

The deputy witnessed four to five Hispanic males exit the vehicle and they fled on foot. Additional PCSO units with assistance from the Maricopa Police Department searched the area for suspects.

One male subject was located hiding in the desert. The man was identified as an illegal immigrant from Mexico and was transported to Casa Grande Medical Center for extreme dehydration. The suspect was then turned over to United States Border Patrol for processing. The other subjects were not located.

A search of the vehicle turned up six bundles of marijuana weighing 136 pounds.

“Fortunately no one was hurt after the suspects decided to run from our deputy, putting lives of other motorists in danger." said Sheriff Paul Babeu, in a written statement. "Their vehicle will now be seized and auctioned off raising additional funds to combat drug runners in Pinal County.”