Dozen arrested in alleged drug smuggling bust

Posted: Updated:
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. -- Pinal County sheriff's deputies say they have arrested a dozen people in a corridor that's notorious for drug smuggling.

The nine men and three teens are suspected of smuggling more than 560 pounds of marijuana in backpacks in the Vekol Valley area, south of Interstate 8.

U.S. Border Patrol agents spotted the group walking through the desert and carrying the backpacks last week. Agents then watched as the men reportedly left the bags under a tree, then walked away.

The backpacks were full of marijuana that weighed a total of 562 pounds and has an estimated street value of more than $421,000.

The suspects reportedly admitted crossing the border illegally on foot a week ago.

Eight adults were booked into the Pinal County jail on suspicion of possession of marijuana for sale, transportation of marijuana for sale and possession of marijuana..

The three teens were also booked into the Pinal County jail for the same charges.

One of the men is still in the custody of U.S. Border Patrol.