MCSO: 22 total arrested in marijuana busts

Deputies say they arrested 20 illegal immigrants and two U.S. citizens in the last week after they were caught smuggling more than 1,100 pounds of marijuana combined.

Maricopa County Sheriff's Deputy Joaquin Enriquez said the first incident happened on Jan. 29 in the southeastern portion of Maricopa County.

Deputies reportedly encountered a vehicle (shown on the left in the photo) as it was hauling 160 pounds of marijuana. Four people were arrested: three illegal immigrants and one U.S. citizen, Enriquez said.

The illegal immigrants each paid between $2,000 and $6,000 to be taken into the U.S. from Mexico, and they crossed the border at Sonorita, he said.

The second incident (shown on the right) took place Monday, ending with 17 illegal immigrants and one U.S. citizen arrested, Enriquez said.

They were seen loading bales of marijuana onto the bed of a Chevy pickup truck in a desert area of southeastern Maricopa County, he said.

Enriquez said the driver of the pickup truck, who was a U.S. citizen, left the area and didn't stop when told to do so by authorities.

The driver then fled to a business close by and tried to run away but was arrested by MCSO deputies.

Deputies went back to the desert area and found the 17 illegal immigrants, Enriquez said.

They were all taken into custody and charged with conspiracy to commit human smuggling, he said.

Five of the 18 arrested, including the U.S. citizen, were also charged with drug trafficking.

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