The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office arrested 13 people within 25 hours from 10-09-2001 to 10-10-2011 in three separate cases involving human and drug smuggling.
Each case is detailed below.On 10-09-2011, at 8:26 pm,
a PCSO patrol deputy observed a 2006 Chevrolet minivan traveling north on Montgomery Road fail to make a complete stop before turning east onto Highway 84. The deputy also noticed the license plate lamp did not properly illuminate the display plate.
After initiating a traffic stop, the van pulled onto the shoulder of Highway 84. As the deputy approached the vehicle, five Hispanic males were seen lying on the rear floor of the vehicle. The driver was identified as Stephen Cortez, 21, of Casa Grande. A passenger identified herself as Cortez’s mother, Celia Ramirez, 54, of Casa Grande.
Cortez and Ramirez indicated they did not know the men lying in the back of the van.
After placing Cortez and Ramirez in handcuffs for further questioning, the deputy made contact with the passengers. All indicated they did not speak English and were in the county illegally.
A search of the vehicle turned up two small bags of marijuana. None of the suspects indicated they knew who the drugs belonged to.
Cortez and Ramirez were charged with possession of marijuana and human smuggling. They, along with the five illegal immigrants, were turned over to Border Patrol for processing.On 10-10-2011, at 7:19 am,
a PCSO patrol deputy attempted to stop a 2001 GMC Yukon in the area of Harmon and Toltec Roads for a traffic violation. After activating his emergency lights, the suspect’s SUV fled, reaching speed in excess of 65 mph in a 50 mph zone.
The suspect turned north on Curry road and traveled approximate 100 yards before coming to a stop. Six subjects exited the vehicle and fled northwest on foot into a cotton field. Agents with Border Patrol and Bureau of Land Management responded and assisted in capturing four of the suspects.
All four were turned over to BP for being in the county illegally.
Upon further review of the SUV, the ignition was found to be wired to run without the need for a key.On 10-10-2011, at 9:22 pm,
a PCSO deputy on patrol noticed three vehicles traveling, in tandem, east on Interstate 8 near Stanfield, exceeding the posted speed limit of 75 mph.
The vehicles were, #1: 2002 Chevrolet Impala, #2: 2004 Buick Rainer and #3: 1991 Honda Civic.
The deputy approached the lead vehicle by traveling in the right lane of travel and moved ahead of the group. A second PCSO unit approached the rear vehicle as the deputies moved into position to initiate a traffic stop.
|Jose Hurtado, 22
||Edgar Larios, 30|
Just east of Midway Road, the deputies turned on emergency lights to stop the vehicles. The Chevrolet Impala came to an abrupt stop along the south side of Interstate 8. As the deputy approached the vehicle, three subjects exited, and fled on foot into the desert.
While clearing the vehicle of additional suspects, the deputy could clearly see several bundles of marijuana located in the back seat. After searching the vehicle, several more bundles were discovered in the trunk. Eight bundles were ultimately seized; totaling 332 lbs. of marijuana.
As the second PCSO deputy attempted to stop the Buick Rainer, the SUV pulled to a stop and 7 subjects exited the vehicle, fleeing into the desert. The driver of the SUV was detained and identified as Jose Hurtado, 22, of Phoenix.
A third PCSO deputy located and was able to stop the Honda Civic. The driver of the Honda Civic was detained and identified as Edgar Larios, 30, of Casa Grande.
Larios and Hurtado were both charged with:Possession of marijuana for sale
Sheriff Paul Babeu stated, “These three examples clearly demonstrate a lack of control along our southern border. Despite the constant flow of illegal aliens and drugs through Pinal County, we will continue to fight smuggling efforts until someone decides to take up the issue of border security seriously.”