PCSO's Anti-Smuggling Unit arrested eight people near Stanfield Wednesday night. (PCSO photo)

Eight Mexican nationals were arrested near Stanfield Wednesday night, accused by the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office of smuggling marijuana from Mexico into Arizona.

The seven men and one 17 year old were captured after allegedly fleeing deputies trying to pull over the 2005 Ford van they were in on Anderson Road. According to the report, the van drove into the desert at Eclipse Road before stopping, and the eight people jumped out and fled into surrounding farm land.

In the van, the deputies with the Anti-Smuggling Unit reportedly found 401 pounds of marijuana in nine bales, along with a camouflaged backpack containing seven portable radios. PCSO and U.S. Border Patrol set up a perimeter in the area.

“Our deputies tracked the suspects south for about a quarter of a mile from the van and located eight suspects floating in an irrigation canal attempting to hide from their pursuers,” Sheriff Paul Babeu said. “When interviewed, the suspects admitted to having been picked up along the road after walking through the desert from Mexico carrying the packs of marijuana.”

The adults were booked into the county’s Adult Detention Center on charges of smuggling marijuana. The teen was sent to the juvenile detention center. The van, marijuana and other items were seized for evidence and later destruction.

The sheriff pointed to the “sad irony” that his office had just spent the day talking about border crime with presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson, even flying him by helicopter over the desert area popular with smugglers.

Those arrested were Jovan Bermuda-Valenzuela, 24, of Caborca, Sinaloa, Mexico; Jesus Chaparo-Cruz, 21, of Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Mexico; Isidro German-Flores, 21, of Sinaloa, Sinaloa, Mexico; Jose Jesus Lopez-Martinez, 39, of Caborca, Sonora, Mexico; Javier Vasquez-Juarez, 22, of Leyva, Sinaloa, Mexico; Trinidad Vizcarra-Loaiza, 34, of Sinaloa, Sinaloa, Mexico; Emmanuel Castro-Haros, 28, of Sinaloa, Sinaloa, Mexico; and the juvenile from Caborca, Sonora, Mexico.

Seven men and a juvenile, all from Mexico, were arrested near Stanfield Wednesday night on smuggling charges. (PCSO photos)
Seven men and a juvenile, all from Mexico, were arrested near Stanfield Wednesday night on smuggling charges. (PCSO photos)

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