MARICOPA COUNTY, AZ - Maricopa County Sheriff's deputies arrested 13 people Wednesday and Thursday on suspicion of human and drug smuggling from Mexico into Arizona.
According to MCSO, sheriff's deputies stopped a vehicle full of eight to ten people Wednesday evening on I-17 north of Pioneer Road. After the vehicle was pulled over, all the passengers jumped out of the car and fled on foot into a nearby neighborhood.
Deputies located three of the people in the neighborhood. Officials said one was hiding in the backyard of a home and the other two were hiding in a wash.
Thursday morning, deputies located the rest of the people at a Circle K gas station near I-17 and Daisy Mountain Road, but they fled when deputies arrived. Officials said after another extensive search, they found and arrested six more individuals.
According to MCSO, everyone arrested paid between $2,000 and $3,000 to be illegally smuggled into the United States from Mexico. They were heading to Los Angeles when they were pulled over.
Officials said in a separate incident Wednesday morning, MCSO deputies spotted a vehicle in the southern region of the county being loaded with what appeared to be large bundles of marijuana.
When authorities approached the vehicle, four Hispanic males took off on foot, while two other Hispanic men sped off in the vehicle before stopping a short distance away and fleeing on foot, according to MCSO.
Officials said after searching more over an hour, authorities found and arrested four of the men. The other two were never found. MCSO said inside the stopped vehicle, they found 120.5 pounds of marijuana, valued at about $62,000.
Two of the men were arrested on suspicion of drug smuggling and the other two were arrested on suspicion of human smuggling.