Monday, September 16, 2013

Same-day pursuits tied to drug smuggling

(L: Arturo Tellez - R: Jesus Arguellas-Esparza)

Early Thursday morning, a Pinal County Sheriff’s deputy traveling eastbound on Interstate 8 attempted to stop a 2000 Cadillac Escalade after he had observed it speeding. The deputy initiated a traffic stop and the vehicle began to pull over to the right, but then accelerated and a pursuit ensued.

The vehicle stopped a short time later and both the driver and front seat passenger ran from the vehicle. The deputy and another deputy who was now on-scene approached the vehicle and observed there were still two Hispanic males inside of it. Behind the men, the deputies could see packaged bundles of marijuana.

The deputy ordered one of the men out of the vehicle at gunpoint. The suspect later identified as Arturo Tellez (age 28 of Mexico) got out of the vehicle, but then fled on foot southbound into the desert. One of the deputies gave chase on foot and caught him a short distance later. Tellez resisted arrest and struggled to get free even after he was taken to the ground.

The other deputy ordered the other suspect out of the vehicle at gunpoint and was able to take him into custody without incident. The suspect was later identified as on Jesus Arguellas-Esparza (age 26 of Mexico). After taking Esparza into custody, the deputy ran over and assisted the other deputy who was still fighting with Tellez. Tellez was eventually taken into custody after being tasered.

The vehicle contained 153 pounds of marijuana. The other two suspects who ran from the vehicle were never located. The vehicle was seized along with the drugs.

Esparza and Tellez were both booked into the Pinal County Adult Detention Center for Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Marijuana for Sale and Transportation of Marijuana. Tellez was also charged with Resisting Arrest.

About an hour and a half later. another deputy attempted to stop 2003 Audi near Highways 84 and 347 for a traffic violation. The driver failed to yield and continued eastbound on 84, then turned north onto Fuqua Road and ended up fleeing into the desert. Although the deputy lost sight of the vehicle because of darkness and dust in the air, it was located a short time later, abandoned.

PCSO deputies, along with officers from the Maricopa Police Department, found a total of 7 bundles of marijuana along the side of the roadways where the vehicle had traveled. Inside of the vehicle, additional bundles of packaged marijuana were found. All of the marijuana located weighed approximately 350 pounds.

The marijuana found along the roadway and the marijuana found in the vehicle was all packaged with in the same wrapping. The suspect(s) were never located. The marijuana and vehicle were seized
Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu stated, “The packaged marijuana from these two cases had a street value of $377,250. The cartels have unlimited funding and resources which is why our office has so many vehicle pursuits. The cartels are desperate to get their loads of drugs or humans to their final destination and we are committed to stop them. PCSO led a multi-agency operation in the past which resulted in the largest drug bust in State history. We will not give up this fight until the border is secure.”

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