On 10-31-2011, just before 3:00 p.m., a PCSO deputy on patrol just outside the town of Stanfield noticed a brown, Nissan sedan traveling over 50 mph in a posted school zone. The deputy initiated a traffic stop by turning on his emergency lights, at which time the vehicle accelerated, and began driving erratically in an attempt to flee. As a second deputy attempted to deploy stop sticks in the area of Barnes and Russell Roads, the suspect swerved towards the deputy, causing the deputy to dive from the roadway to avoid being struck. The vehicle then left the road and drove into the desert, where the suspect fled on foot. Tracking footprints leading east from the vehicle, deputies located the suspect hiding in a canal. The suspect was removed from the water and identified as Francisco Guillermo Morales, an illegal immigrant from Mexico.
A search of Morales’ vehicle turned up (3) homemade, burlap backpacks with narcotics inside. Further examination of the contents showed Morales was smuggling 45.75 lbs of Black Tar Heroin, 33.85 lbs. of White Tar Heroin and 8.8 lbs. of Crystal Methamphetamine.
|Sheriff Babeu, left, standing with Chief Deputy Steve Henry next to the load Morales was transporting.|
Total street value of all drugs seized is $1,554,050. Detectives have determined Morales was smuggling the narcotics for the Sinaloa Drug Cartel in Mexico.
Deputies from the PCSO Narcotics Task force, working with agents from ICE Homeland Security Investigations discovered Morales was arrested on October 13, 2011 at one of the residences targeted as part of Operation Pipeline Express.
Because there wasn’t sufficient evidence at the scene to charge Morales as part of Operation Pipeline Express, ICE ultimately deported him back to Mexico.
Morales will be prosecuted in Pinal County Superior Court on charges of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
, Aggravated Assault
, Felony Flight
and Smuggling Narcotics
Sheriff Babeu stated, “Unlike the last catch and release, Morales will be prosecuted in Pinal County and held accountable to the full extent of the law for bringing his poison into America, and in the process almost killing one of my deputies.”
Chief Henry stated, “It’s incredibly frustrating for law enforcement to see the people who are supposed to looking out for the security of our nation’s borders release a known criminal, who effortlessly makes his way back to Pinal County; not to take the jobs American’s don’t want, but to smuggle the worst drugs out there. I’m sure our citizens must feel the same way.”