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marijuana

Nicole Knight (PCSO photo)

Maricopa Police arrested a woman last week after allegedly discovering nearly two pounds of marijuana in her shopping cart.

Nicole Knight, 37, was allegedly pushing 1.6 pounds of marijuana in a cart near the Honeycutt Road and Maricopa Groves Parkway intersection March 9, according to a Maricopa Police Department report.

The incident began when an MPD officer noticed Knight allegedly jaywalking across Honeycutt Road around 6:30 p.m.

While speaking with Knight, the reporting officer “noticed an odor of marijuana emanating” from the cart, according to the report.

Knight purportedly showed the officer a small of amount of the drug in a sheet of paper she had on her person. The officer then placed Knight in custody and stated her Miranda rights, according to the report.

Afterward, the officer searched the cart and discovered a large, black plastic garbage bag that reportedly contained the additional marijuana.

The police report states Knight claimed the drug was for personal use and denied ever selling marijuana.

Police forwarded a single charge of possession of marijuana against Knight, a class 6 felony.


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Deputies allegedly found 53 marijuana plants in a house east of Maricopa.

Pinal County Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant on a house in Saddleback Farms. Besides the plants, deputies uncovered “equipment connected to a growing operation,” according to spokesperson Navideh Forghani.

The location is between the Ak-Chin Airport and the Casa Grande city limits. No other information is available at this time.

PCSO discovered hundreds of pounds of marijuana in a Yukon abandoned by the driver after a chase. PCSO photo

An apparently speeding vehicle led a Pinal County Sheriff’s deputy on a chase on State Route 347 Tuesday afternoon. In the end, the driver and passenger escaped but the abandoned vehicle was allegedly found to be carrying 451 pounds of marijuana.

The deputy spotted the 2002 GMC Yukon traveling at a high rate of speed south of Maricopa on SR 347 around 5:41 p.m. When he tried to pull over the vehicle, the driver did not stop and the pursuit was initiated.

After leaving the highway, the Yukon ran a stop sign and eventually stopped at the intersection of Dune Shadow Road and Hidden Valley Road. The driver and a passenger in the front seat ran west into the desert.

“As the deputy approached the vehicle to make sure it was clear, he observed several large bundles in the rear cargo area wrapped in camouflage material,” Sheriff Paul Babeu said. “The bundles contained 451 pounds of marijuana. The driver and passenger were not located.”

The vehicle and marijuana was seized and detectives will follow up on the case with the registered owner, according to PCSO.

PCSO photo
PCSO photo

Manuel Amador-Aispuro (from left), Ramon Martinez and Josue Teran Grandarills were arrested in Maricopa Wednesday. PCSO photos

Three men were arrested by Pinal County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday near Cobblestone Farms on charges of transporting 283 pounds of marijuana.

Manuel Amador-Aispuro, 19, Ramon Martinez, 21, and Josue Teran Grandarills, 21, were taken into custody at 9:30 a.m. They allegedly admitted to being in the country illegally.

The three had led PCSO on a high-speed chase after initially being stopped for speeding at Ralston and Mockingbird Lane southwest of Maricopa. A PCSO helicopter tracked their SUV into Maricopa.

The three men stopped in the residential area near State Route 238 and SR 347 and fled on foot. The helicopter crew led the deputies on the ground to their locations.

All three men were booked on charges of possession of marijuana for use, possession of marijuana for sale and transportation of marijuana. Amador, the driver, was also charged with unlawful flight from law enforcement.

They were booked into the PCSO detention facility and each has a $50,000 bond. Their court hearing is set for Nov. 4 in Superior Court.

Carlos Avalos
Carlos Avalos

Also arrested Wednesday by PCSO in an unrelated incident, Maricopa resident Carlos Avalos, 46, was charged with a dangerous drug violation.

He was arrested at 9:47 a.m. His bond is $25,000, and his preliminary hearing is set for Nov. 1.

 

Aldo Aleman is in jail pending charges of smuggling 495 pounds of marijuana. PCSO photos

A Stanfield man suspected of smuggling 22 bales of marijuana was arrested after being chased by a sheriff’s deputy through the Thunderbird Farms area.

The deputy, a detective with the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office anti-smuggling unit, was traveling on Papago Road on Wednesday around 7:30 a.m. when he saw a vehicle turn abruptly off the road onto a farm road.

The Chevrolet SUV sped from the patrol vehicle, according to the report, and then drove in circles at dangerous speeds between the fields where workers were present. The SUV returned to Papago Road, went north on Amarillo Valley Road and west on Teel Road. It was abandoned near Ralston Road, and an unknown number of occupants fled into the fields.

One person ran to a group of farm workers to try to conceal himself among them.

The deputy reportedly found 22 bales of marijuana, weighing 495 pounds, inside the SUV. He spoke to the farm workers nearby, and they pointed out the suspect as having fled from the vehicle.

The man was identified as Aldo Aleman, 19. The allegedly was carrying a two-way radio on which the deputy believed he heard smugglers and scouts talking in Spanish.

Aleman, listed as a resident of Stanfield, is being held in the county jail awaiting charges of drug smuggling and possession of drugs for sale.

Misael Gonzalez Gonzalez

A man in Stanfield is accused of running a crime syndicate by the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.

Misael Gonzalez Gonzalez, 44, was arrested Monday in Stanfield. Pending charges are production of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale, possession of marijuana for use and managing and financing a criminal syndicate.

The secured bond is $10,000. His preliminary hearing is set for May 17.

 

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Anthony Smith

By Anthony Smith

As your county supervisor, I encourage anybody to examine my voting record. My actions are a matter of public record. However, when my opponent examines my record he has either chosen to purposely misrepresent the facts; or because he lacks any experience in an elected office he doesn’t understand the terminology and processes to get the facts straight.

To inform you the voter, I will again respond to Mr. Vitiello’s accusations versus my actual record.

Mr. Vitiello says: “Contrary to what he claims, the incumbent presented a motion to approve an open grow marijuana farm in the unincorporated area outside of Casa Grande and voted in favor of it on Feb. 18, 2015.”

Facts: On February 18, 2015, the Board of Supervisors did not approve a grow facility. We approved a text change to the zoning ordinance. Approving a zoning ordinance is a very different action than that of approving a Special Use Permit. At a later date, a Special Use Permit application for a grow facility did come before the Board. I voted against it.

Mr. Vitiello says: The incumbent also stated “A medical marijuana distribution center does not exist in Supervisor’s District 4 or anywhere in Pinal County.” Research shows there to be at least four such distributors of medical marijuana (dispensaries) according to Weedmaps.com.

Facts: In Mr. Vitiello’s March 16, 2016 editorial, he interchanges the term “medical marijuana distribution center” and “medical marijuana dispensaries.” I assumed he knew the difference. Again, Pinal County has medical marijuana dispensaries and medical marijuana grow facilities. We do not have medical marijuana distribution centers.

Mr. Vitiello says: “On his watch we saw a medical marijuana distribution center placed in his district over the objections of his constituents. He voted for it. Did he look to see if the person at the end of that business chain is a convicted criminal wanting to get a license to distribute pot and keep the cash?”

Facts: He was referring to the community of Oracle’s medical marijuana facility. He should be aware that Oracle is not in District 4, which is the area I represent.  As a candidate for County Supervisor, Mr. Vitiello should be able to correctly identify the communities within the District in which he is running.

Regarding the background of medical marijuana applicants. The Attorney General reviews the background of all medical marijuana applicants. If Mr. Vitiello truly believes a criminal is involved in a facility, he has a duty to pursue this with the AG office.

On the issue of creating medical marijuana dispensaries: In the past year the number of medical marijuana cardholders has doubled from approximately 2,500 to nearly 5,000 cardholders in Pinal County. If a cardholder lives within a 25 mile radius of a dispensary, they are required to purchase the product from a dispensary. If a cardholder lives outside the 25 mile radius, they are allowed to raise marijuana plants in their home. We have less than 100 cardholders outside the 25 mile zone. Based on these numbers, my strategy for keeping medical marijuana out of our neighborhoods and in dispensaries has been very effective.

In all my election campaigns, I have consistently put forward plans that I believe will improve the lives of our citizens. I will not fall for Mr. Vitiello’s negative campaigning style or accept his poor research. From my experience, the voting public wants to see a candidate’s plan, and not hear constant unsubstantiated negative rhetoric.


Anthony Smith is the District 4 supervisor for Pinal County and a resident of Maricopa. He is running for re-election against Rich Vitiello.

An SUV involved in a pursuit on Papago Road was found to have 280 pounds of marijuana inside. Submitted photo
Guadalupe Acosta-Gutierrez. PCSO photo
Guadalupe Acosta-Gutierrez. PCSO photo

A Mexican national was arrested Sunday on charges of smuggling 280 pounds of marijuana through Pinal County.

Guadalupe Acosta-Gutierrez, 22, was arrested after a pursuit on Papago Road.

Just after noon, a Pinal County Sheriff’s deputy tried to stop a silver Ford SUV for an alleged traffic violation on Papago Road, which is south of the Ak-Chin Indian Community. The driver, however, fled at speeds up to 70 mph until he crashed into a clump of trees north of West Jean Drive and North Glyde Drive.

He then fled on foot for half a mile before being nabbed by an Ak-Chin Police officer. He was identified as Acosta-Gutierrez of Sinaloa, Mexico.

According to the report, the SUV contained 20 bales of marijuana with a street value of about $140,000.

Acosta-Gutierrez was the only occupant of the vehicle. He was booked at Pinal County Jail pending charges of drug smuggling and felony flight.

 

The 20 bales have an estimated street value of $140,000. PCSO photo
The 20 bales have an estimated street value of $140,000. PCSO photo

PCSO reported arresting 21 smuggling suspects in three actions Thursday morning in the Maricopa/Stanfield area. PCSO photo

Pinal County Sheriff’s detectives worked with the U.S. Border Patrol Thursday morning in the western desert of Pinal County to seize 1,737 pounds of marijuana and arrest 21 people in three locations.

The first contact was made by a PCSO deputy on Interstate 8 near milepost 157 at 2:30 a.m. The deputy observed a Ford Focus sedan pull from the side of the interstate and head east at a high rate of speed. The deputy stopped the car near the Stanfield Road exit.

When the deputy approached the car, he noticed six occupants and a camouflaged bale in the back seat that he suspected of being marijuana. One suspect fled from the vehicle, and five others were detained.

A search of the car reportedly netted three bales of marijuana totaling 150 pounds. Of the five people detained, three were Mexican Nationals in the country illegally and two were U.S. citizens.

The second seizure took place near Meadowview Road and State Route 347. A deputy on routine patrol observed a gold minivan turn onto Meadowview from SR 347 at 5:45 a.m. The deputy turned onto Meadowview and saw that the van had pulled to the side of the road and a group of 14 males were running toward the van with large packs.
The deputy suspected smuggling activity and activated his emergency lights. The males running toward the van all dropped the packs and ran back into the desert. The van was unoccupied. The deputy located 14 large bales of marijuana packaged in camouflaged material near the van and in the nearby desert. The total weight of the seized marijuana was 592 pounds. None of the suspectes or van driver were located.

At 8 a.m., the Border Patrol requested assistance from PCSO with a group of 40 smugglers walking through a wash near Hidden Valley Road and Century Road. PCSO responded with ground and air units to help locate and apprehend the suspects.

Over a period of three hours and in rugged mountain terrain, 16 of the estimated 40 smugglers were apprehended by both Border Patrol agents and PCSO detectives from the Anti-Smuggling Unit. Forty bales of bundled marijuana weighing 995 pounds were located in the area where the suspects had fled into the desert from the wash.

“This is further evidence that the Mexican Cartels continue their aggressive smuggling operations,” Sheriff Paul Babeu said. “Our heroes in the U.S. Border Patrol deserve the full support of the President and our government to fully enforce immigration law and secure the border at the border, not 70 miles north where these smuggling crimes occurred.”