ABC15 went on an exclusive ride-along with a deputy from a Special Operations Unit with Pinal County Sheriff’s Office to get a better understanding how drugs are smuggled into the U.S.
According to a deputy, who ABC15 is calling Ryan, the busiest season for drug-trafficking is typically September - April. However, this year has been different because the Mexican Drug Cartel’s leader, El Chapo Guzman, was arrested.
“Apparently there was some fighting within the organization as to who was going to call the shots,” said Ryan.
Something was figured out and the drugs are on their way. Just last week, deputies confiscated more than 500 pounds of marijuana. The driver was in a stolen pick-up truck up from Phoenix.
Smugglers use several different routes to transport the drugs.
In Pinal County, the cartel uses scouts to help smugglers avoid detection. Deputies say they hide in mountains and use binoculars to watch nearby freeways and roads. If they spot a patrol vehicle – they alert their people on the ground.
“It’s always a tense situation to take them down because we believe a lot of them are armed,” said Ryan.