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MCSO: Three arrested in Gila Bend drug bust, $2 million seized in meth and marijuana

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Posted at 5:44 PM, Feb 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-01 19:53:04-05

GILA BEND, AZ — Three men are in custody after detectives with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office seized $2 million worth of drugs in a multi-agency bust on Wednesday night.

MCSO detectives and agents from the U.S Customs and Border Protection working in the Gila Bend area observed two trucks avoid a border checkpoint and drive into the desert with their lights off. Officials say tire deflation devices were deployed ahead of the trucks to prevent a potential pursuit, and both trucks became inoperable after striking the devices.

According to MCSO, four suspects fled from the trucks on foot. Detectives coordinated with CBP agents, and with the help of air support, took three suspects into custody. There was no information available about the fourth suspect's whereabouts.

When authorities searched the trucks, over 220 pounds of methamphetamine and 3,500 pounds of marijuana were found and seized. The estimated street value of the drugs is $2 million.

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"This seizure is an example of exceptional police work by our deputies and law enforcement partners," said MCSO Sheriff Paul Penzone. "It is also an example that the demand for drugs continues to be epidemic. Illicit drugs are the most impactful contributor to violence, crime and gang activity that continues to adversely impact our community and our families. We will be unwavering in our commitment to hold the line."

Officials say 31-year-old Jose Jaime Garcia-Lopez, 49-year-old Yoni Ontiveros-Torres, and 47-year-old Ruben Espericueta-Jiminez are facing charges of possession and transportation of dangerous drugs for sale, and possession and transportation of marijuana for sale.