An attempted traffic stop on two suspicious vehicles on Interstate 8 led to a pursuit in the Stanfield area and the arrest of two Casa Grande men.
A Pinal County Sheriff’s Office deputy with the Anti-Smuggling Unit saw a white Ford Mustang and an orange Chevrolet Camaro apparently traveling together westbound at 4:45 a.m. Aug. 26. According to the report, the deputy saw both vehicles committing traffic infractions and moved into position to make a stop.
The vehicles then separated at State Route 84. The deputy followed the Mustang off the interstate and radioed for other units to stop the Camaro. The Mustang went onto a farm road near SR 84 and Smith Road and became stuck in the mud. The driver fled on foot, but the deputy chased him down and took him into custody.
He was identified as Rigoberto Leue-Tejeda, 20, of Casa Grande.
Inside the Mustang, deputies found two camouflaged backpacks containing 77 pounds of marijuana and three Kenwood mobile two-way radios.
“The driver of the car we apprehended admitted that he was paid $1,000 by the other suspect to pick up the drugs at a designated point along the highway,” Sheriff Paul Babeu said. “This case is a perfect example of why we need to put more effort into securing our border. It is more than just illegal immigration; it’s about criminals carrying assault weapons and smuggling drugs through our Pinal County communities.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Border Patrol officers stopped the Camaro on Stanfield Road near I-8. They reportedly found an assault-style rifle, ski masks and more two-way radios. PCSO took custody of the driver, Erick Tarango, 20, of Casa Grande.
Both were booked at the Adult Detention Center and the vehicles were seized as evidence.