PHOENIX -- Department of Public Safety Officers have arrested a man who rammed his truck into an officer's patrol car, then fled.
Angel Antonio Flores Tirado, a 26-year-old Mexican citizen, appears to have been on his way to deliver supplies to members of a cartel Monday, when a DPS officer pulled him over for speeding on Interstate 10 near Wild Horse Pass.
When the officer approached the car, Flores reportedly put the truck into reverse and hit the officer's car. The impact was so swift that the officer says he had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit.
The DPS officer gave pursuit. Flores abandoned his vehicle near the gate of a private community in Sun Lakes. He had apparently left the vehicle in drive, so it rolled into the community's gate, causing some damage.
Chandler police located Flores a short time later near Alma School and Riggs road. Flores was taken into custody.
DPS says his truck was loaded with a significant amount of survival gear, along with food, beverages, clothing, multiple pairs of walking shoes and camouflage jackets.
Also found in the vehicle were multiple batteries and cell phones, along with a loaded 9 mm Glock handgun and ammunition.
Flores told DPS officers he was going to drop off the supplies at the rest area near Casa Grande.
According to the DPS, the suspect's statements, along with the items found in his truck, point to his likely involvement in an effort to resupply cartel members operating in the dessert. It is unknown at this time if the cartel members he was likely supporting were involved in human smuggling, drug smuggling, or both.
Flores was booked into the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Jail for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon/dangerous instrument, aggravated assault of a police officer, unlawful flight from a law enforcement vehicle, false reporting to law enforcement, possession of weapon by prohibited person, and criminal damage.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety encourages the public to be vigilant and aware of potential organized criminal activity along Arizona's roadways and rest areas. If you witness such activity, contact your local law enforcement agency, or call 1-888-NO-GANGS.