PCSO: Driver found with 11 illegal immigrants, 45 pounds of marijuana in Maricopa

MARICOPA, AZ - A woman was booked into Pinal County Jail after a deputy discovered 45 pounds of marijuana and 11 illegal immigrants in her vehicle.

On Friday, a PCSO K-9 deputy stopped a Ford Explorer for traffic violations near the City of Maricopa.

Inside the vehicle, driven by 29-year-old Janette Salido-Hernandez, the deputy reportedly saw four male passengers and noticed a moving blanket in the rear cargo compartment where seven other male passengers were hiding.

Bundles of marijuana were found in the back of the car, while another bundle was found in between the legs of the front seat passenger.

The 11 passengers admitted they were in the U.S. illegally and claimed they had no knowledge of the marijuana.

"Hernandez told detectives she left the home she was living at in Phoenix and was headed to Harrah's casino," said Sheriff Paul Babeu. "She claimed she saw a male subject standing by the side of Highway 347 attempting to wave her down. She stopped and the next thing she knew the male subject and all of the others got into her vehicle. Hernandez said she usually stops and helps people when they are stranded."

Babeu added the woman knew what she was doing was wrong and claimed to not  have knowledge of the marijuana in her vehicle.

Hernandez was booked into Pinal County Jail for charges related to possession of marijuana. She was released Monday but then turned over to the United States Border Patrol.

The 11 illegal passengers were sent to U.S. Border Patrol for processing.

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