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Sheriff's Office

Vehicle Pursuit Leads to the Arrest of 3 Suspects for Drug Smuggling
 
Posted: 10/16/2013 12:00 AM
 
On Friday, October 11th, 2013 at 1:15 a.m. a Pinal County Sheriff’s Office deputy was on patrol traveling westbound on Interstate 10 near milepost 204. He observed two vehicles traveling also westbound in the same lane. The front vehicle was a 1992 Nissan passenger car and the rear vehicle was a 2001 Oldsmobile passenger car. The vehicles were both traveling at 75 mph and the rear vehicle was following the front vehicle by one vehicle length. The deputy followed them for a short distance and observed the drivers of both vehicles commit separate traffic violations.
 
The deputy activated his emergency lights and attempted to stop the front vehicle. The rear vehicle slowed and the deputy got behind the front vehicle which also slowed to 40 mph. The rear vehicle pulled up alongside of the front vehicle and the two drivers began to yell back and forth to each other. The vehicle still failed to yield at which point the deputy turned on his siren. The vehicle then suddenly pulled to the right and stopped. After stopping, the driver and passenger ran into the desert.
 
Inside of the vehicle, the deputy located four bundles of packaged marijuana which weighed a total of 84 pounds. The marijuana had a street value of $63,000.
 
A responding deputy located the second vehicle and conducted a traffic stop. The driver was later identified as Eduardo Sanchez (age 18 of Tucson). Sanchez was taken into custody.
 
Deputies along with members of the U.S. Border Patrol searched the desert for the driver and passenger who fled the first traffic stop. The passenger was located approximately 500 feet east of the traffic stop. He was identified as Juan Lopez-Guzman (age 21 of Mexico). The driver was also located. He was identified as Omar Cota (age 18 of Tucson).
 
Sheriff Paul Babeu stated, “During interviews, all three admitted to their involvement with the marijuana smuggling. They were booked into the Pinal County Jail for Possession of Marijuana, Transportation of Marijuana and Possession of Marijuana for Sale. Omar Cota was also booked for Felony Flight (pursuit). The investigation will continue as we try to confirm the identity of Juan Guzman as he claims he doesn’t know his date of birth.”
 
Both vehicles were seized along with the $1,800 in cash Omar Cota had in his pants pocket.
 
Public Information Officer

Jim Knupp
520.483.4502
pcsopio@pinalcountyaz.gov



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