Marijuana load is squashed by the Pinal County Sheriff's Office | Crime
The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Task Force seized more than a ton of marijuana from a truck carrying produce, this past Wednesday.
According to a Pinal County Office K9 deputy, the driver of the semi began acting erratically when he noticed the marked unit sitting in the median. The deputy was on I-10 close to mile post 206, he pulled out onto the highway and followed the semi; observing the driver change lanes without a turn signal, cut off other vehicles on the interstate and at one point slowed down to 40 miles per hour.
The driver of the truck was pulled over for the traffic violations, according to the deputy as he approached the truck he noticed a strong odor of marijuana. The driver, identified as Norberto De La Vega, told the deputy was returning to Los Angeles and appeared nervous, his hands shaking as he handed over his paperwork.
According to the deputy, it was at this point he returned to his vehicle and retrieved his canine partner. The dog alerted immediately to the trailer and the deputy called for backup from the Narcotics Task Force.
When the Narcotics team arrived they searched the trailer and found 32 bins full of squash, upon closer inspection the teams found duct taped packages concealed beneath the vegetables. Officials said the bundles were discovered when they were seen through the ventilation holes in the squash boxes.
A total of 1,243 pounds of marijuana was recovered inside the truck, according to PCSO officials. The drugs had an estimated street value of $925,000. De La Vega was arrested and is facing various drug charges.
According to PCSO, after the evidence was secured and ownership of the load was turned down by all parties, the squash was donated to St. Mary’s Food Bank.
“The cartels from Mexico attempt to move their drugs by foot, car, truck and semi,” stated Sheriff Paul Babeu in a news release on the seizure. “Thanks to our K-9 handler and his dog, this load was squashed.”