Dec 6, 2012 12:16 PM by Ian Cross

Pinal Co. deputies find 302 pounds of pot after vehicle pursuit

CASA GRANDE, Ariz. - Three people were taken into custody and over 300 pounds of marijuana were seized by Pinal County Sheriff's deputies Tuesday after a vehicle stop and pursuit into the desert.

At about 11:34 a.m. on December 4, a deputy on patrol tried to stop a SUV traveling at high speeds east on Interstate 8 near Casa Grande, according to a Pinal County Sheriff's Office news release. The driver did not yield after the deputy activated his lights and siren, and then exited at Thornton Road and speed up to 95 miles per hour onto a desert road.

The vehicle slowed and became stuck on some rocks, the release states. The driver and two passengers fled from the vehicle. The deputy chased down the driver and took him into custody.
The two passengers ran for about two miles through the desert and tried to hide, but were located by an Air Unit from the sheriff's office. The two passengers admitted to being in the U.S. illegally and were turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol for deportation.

Inside the vehicle, deputies found 302 pounds or marijuana with a street value of $226,500, the release states. The driver was identified as 28-year-old Trinidad Cordova-Villena of Mexico; he was arrested and booked for Felony Flight, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Marijuana for Sale and Transportation of Marijuana.

"This year alone our office seized 65,760 pounds of marijuana worth over $49,320,000 and over 19 kilos of both cocaine and methamphetamines," stated Sheriff Paul Babeu. "Last year, we led a multi-agency investigation which seized weapons, drugs and cash from the Sinaloa Drug Cartel and has been labeled as one of the largest in state history."

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