Man awaiting 15th deportation after arrest in Pinal County

Posted: Updated:
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. -- A man who had been deported 14 times from the United States was arrested Sunday afternoon after officers found evidence of marijuana in a car he and three other men were in, according to the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the sheriff’s office, a deputy stopped a 1999 Honda Civic after he saw it commit a traffic violation on the eastbound Interstate 10 at about 1:30 p.m. The driver, identified as Cesar Martinez, 23, said he did not have a driver’s license because he was in the country illegally from Mexico. The three passengers in the car also said they did not have licenses and admitted to being in the country illegally, as well.

A drug-sniffing dog inspected the car and found evidence it had been used to carry marijuana, the sheriff’s office said, but the drugs had been removed prior to the traffic stop.

One of the passengers, Tomas Rivera-Flores, 33, of Mexico, said he had already been deported 14 times, according to the sheriff’s office. U.S. Border Patrol later confirmed that.

The driver and the three passengers were all turned over to U.S. Border Patrol for deportation, the sheriff’s office said. The car, which Martinez said he bought that day from an unknown woman, was seized because it had been used to carry immigrants who were in the U.S. illegally.