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Oct 30, 2012 6:57 PM

2 men arrested on I-10 after deputy finds 200 pounds of pot in truck

TUCSON - Last night, two men were arrested after Pinal County Sheriff's Office deputies stopped a vehicle on I-10 for committing several traffic violations and found over 200 pounds of marijuana in plain view inside.

At about 11:10 p.m. Monday, a Pinal County Sheriff's Office Deputy Canine Handler stopped a truck heading north on I-10 near Toltec Road, according to a news release from PCSO.

While the deputy was talking to the driver, 43-year-old Matias Lopez of Eloy, and the passenger, 18-year-old Javier Rios of Mexico, he could see in plain view three bundles of what appeared to be marijuana, the release states. The bundles still had backpacking straps on them, and the deputy noticed a fourth backpack bundle in the truck's bed.

The deputy also smelled a strong odor of marijuana, the release states, and he checked the bundles to confirm they all contained marijuana. The total amount of marijuana seized was 205 pounds, worth an estimated $153,750.

Lopez and Rios were arrested for one count each of Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Marijuana for Sale and Transportation of Marijuana for Sale, the release states. Both were booked into the Pinal County Adult Detention Center for these charges. Additionally, an immigration hold was placed on Rios as he admitted he is in the United States illegally.

Sheriff Paul Babeu stated, "Secretary Janet Napolitano is responsible for America's security and last year she told Arizona law enforcement leaders the U.S. and Mexico border will never be secured. As a result of this failure, the continuous flow of humans and drugs continue to enter America. The volume of drugs coming through is increasing in Pinal County despite what she says. Last year alone, we seized 94,411 pounds of marijuana with a street value of $70,808,250. Additionally weapons are flowing across the border as a result of the Department of Justice providing them through the failed program known as Operation Fast and Furious to the very cartels law enforcement are fighting against."

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