Marijuana tossed from vehicles during 2 pursuits in Pinal County

Posted: Updated:
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
Arcadio Rueda-Cruz By Jennifer Thomas Arcadio Rueda-Cruz By Jennifer Thomas

CASA GRANDE, Ariz. -- Pinal County sheriff's deputies were involved in two separate pursuits on the same day during which suspects threw bundles of marijuana from their vehicles.

Shortly before noon on Oct. 21, a deputy attempted to stop a 2014 Dodge Durango for several traffic violations near Casa Grande, according to the sheriff's office. The vehicle exited eastbound Interstate 10 onto Jimmie Kerr Boulevard then accelerated rapidly and a pursuit was initiated.

The occupants reportedly began to throw packaged bundles of marijuana out of the vehicle onto the roadway.

U.S. Border Patrol officers who were near the pursuit assisted deputies with the pursuit.

The vehicle began traveling on westbound Interstate 8 and drove through the dirt center median, crossed eastbound lanes of traffic and was nearly struck by an oncoming semitruck.

The vehicle exited the interstate and the two occupants got out of the SUV and ran through the desert.

Deputies found the driver attempting to hide in a canal approximately 200 yards away from the vehicle. He has been identified as Arcadio Rueda-Cruz, 19, of Mexico. His 17-year-old passenger was found hiding in the desert.

Deputies and Border Patrol agents collected 23 of the bundles of marijuana that had been thrown out of the vehicle and found an additional four bundles inside the vehicle. The 759 pounds of marijuana had an estimated street value of $569,250.

Rueda-Cruz was booked into the Pinal County Sheriff's Jail and the teen was booked into the Pinal County Juvenile Detention Facility. Both suspects face charges of possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, transportation of marijuana for sale and conspiracy to transport marijuana. Rueda-Cruz also faces a charge of unlawful flight.

About five hours later, the driver of a 2005 Chevy Trailblazer reportedly led deputies on a chase on I-8 with speeds reaching 100 mph.

According to the sheriff's office, a deputy on patrol attempted to stop the vehicle after observing the driver commit several traffic violations.

The driver accelerated rapidly and the 16-year-old passenger began to throw bundles of marijuana out of the vehicle, according to the sheriff's office.

The vehicle eventually stopped and the driver and passenger ran into the desert.

The Pinal County Sheriff's Air Unit responded and located the teenage passenger, who is from Mexico, hiding in the desert approximately 150 yards away. Deputies said he had taken off his red shorts and was hiding while wearing his underwear. The driver of the vehicle was never located.

Deputies were able to collect 29 of the bundles of marijuana that had been thrown out of the vehicle. They located an additional 13 packaged bundles of marijuana inside the vehicle. The 42 bundles weighed 848 pounds and had an estimated street value of $636,000.

The teen was booked into the Pinal County Juvenile Detention Facility. He was charged with possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, transportation of marijuana for sale and conspiracy to transport marijuana.