Officials: Suspected drug smuggler hid contraband in her body

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Thomas Duke, 26, of Tucson;Desiree Romero, 28, of Sierra Vista By Mike Gertzman Thomas Duke, 26, of Tucson;Desiree Romero, 28, of Sierra Vista By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

ELOY, Ariz. -- A deputy from the Pinal County Sheriff's Office arrested two people on drug smuggling charges after the deputy stopped their vehicle on Interstate 10 near Eloy on Thursday.

The deputy stopped Thomas Duke, 26, of Tucson and Desiree Romero, 28, of Sierra Vista, when he observed Duke commit several traffic violations in a 2001 Dodge Caravan.

According to a spokesman for the Pinal County Sheriff's Office, as the deputy walked up to the vehicle he could see a large sign in the back window of the minivan that was being used to hide bundles of marijuana.

Duke and Romero were very nervous and claimed not to know each other.

There were 14 bundles of marijuana inside of the vehicle. The marijuana weighed 340 pounds and has a street value of $272,000.

Romero also had a vial of methamphetamine and a pipe in her purse.

Duke and Romero were searched prior to being transported to the Pinal County Adult Detention Facility.

They were also asked before being transported if they had any drugs on them and both said no.

Duke and Romero were searched once again at the jail. While being searched at the jail, Romero attempted to grab and eat a gram each of marijuana and methamphetamine both of which were located in her vaginal area.

Detention officers were able to get the drugs out of her mouth and keep the evidence from being destroyed.

Duke and Romero were both charged with possession of marijuana for sale, transportation of marijuana and possession of marijuana.

Romero was also charged with possession of a dangerous drug, possession of drug paraphernalia and promoting prison contraband.

Duke is currently on parole for forgery, identity theft and other prior criminal offenses.

In an email from the Pinal County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Paul Babeu stated, “Those smuggling marijuana and other drugs whether for themselves or others will try to conceal them from law enforcement in a variety of ways. Desiree found out the hard way if you smuggle drugs not only will you get caught but if you smuggle them into a jail the consequences are even greater.”