Earlier this week a Pinal County Sheriff’s Deputy stopped a vehicle loaded with Methamphetamines and Black Tar Heroin on State Route 347.
Once the vehicle stopped, a front-seat passenger exited the car and fled on foot through the desert. Sheriff spokesman, Tim Gaffney said the “passenger was described as a Hispanic male wearing a blue and grey striped shirt and jeans.”
Deputies apprehended the female driver, Jessica Velasco, without a struggle. Gaffney reported that deputies could see several packages of what they believed to be illegal drugs in plain sight. When questioned about the drugs, Velasco told deputies, “Nothing in the vehicle is mine. The vehicle belongs to my husband, and he is going to be pissed. I’m not a bad guy, (I) just did a bad thing.”
An investigation revealed this bust was part of a larger smuggling operation that curries drugs from Mexico, across the U.S. border illegally, into Pinal County where “it was loaded into a Nissan Armada for delivery to various locations throughout the United States,” according to Gaffney.
The impounded vehicle contained 196.9 pounds of Methamphetamines and 102.65 pounds of Black Tar Heroin.
Velasco was booked into the Pinal County Adult Detention Center for one count each of the following; “Possession of a Dangerous Drug, Possession of a Dangerous Drug for Sale, Transportation of a Dangerous Drug, Possession of a Narcotic Drug, Possession of a Narcotic Drug for Sale and Transportation of a Narcotic Drug.”
She is currently being held on a $500,000 bond.
Pinal County Sheriff’s Office turned the case over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HIS), due to the large quantity of seized drugs. These agencies also assisted with the processing and evidence collection.
“We appreciate the assistance of our Federal Law Enforcement partners with this huge seizure,” said Sheriff Paul Babeu. “The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office continues to step up our enforcement efforts against the drug cartels of Mexico. As a result, we were able to seize nearly 9 million dollars worth of illegal drugs before they could be distributed throughout the United States.”
Pinal County is Arizona’s number one pass through county for illegal smuggling of people and narcotics. Sheriff Babeu has stated that his county is home to numerous high-speed chases and increased crime rates directly related to the illegal smuggling practices.
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