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Sheriff's Office

Citizens Help Apprehend Fleeing Drug Smuggler
 
Posted: 4/29/2013 12:00 AM
 
PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. – On April 16th, 2013 at 2:05 p.m., a Pinal County Sheriff’s deputy traveling on Highway 84 observed two vehicles driving in tandem at a high rate of speed. The proximity of the vehicles traveling at highway speeds was dangerous and the deputy proceeded to initiate a traffic stop.

One of the vehicles, a blue Chevy Trailblazer, proceeded to flee. The deputy pursued the vehicle that accelerated to 80-miles-per-hour as he traveled onto Russell Road. The suspect attempted to pass a citizen on the dirt portion of Russell Road which caused him to lose control of his vehicle. The vehicle spun into a ditch which kicked up a cloud of dust that obstructed the view of the pursuing deputy. When the dust settled the deputy saw a male fleeing from the vehicle on foot. The deputy stopped his vehicle and began pursuing the suspect on foot in the direction of a cotton gin. Several workers inside the cotton gin had exited the business and witnessed the man fleeing from the deputy.

The employees of the cotton gin began chasing the approaching suspect and assisted in detaining the subject until the deputy was able to handcuff the man. After the deputy escorted the suspect back to the patrol car, he cleared the suspect’s vehicle to make sure no one else was inside. The deputy observed a black towel covering large bundles of marijuana in the front passenger seat of the vehicle. The deputy continued to clear the vehicle and found additional bundles in the back of the vehicle. A total of 27 bundles were discovered in the vehicle with a weight of 567 pounds. The street value of the marijuana is estimated at $400,000.

The driver of the vehicle was identified as Juan Ricardo Hernandez Mendivil, 24-years-old, from Mexico. He was arrested and booked into the Pinal County Adult Detention Center on charges of Possession of Marijuana for Sale, Transportation of Marijuana and Unlawful Flight.

Sheriff Paul Babeu said, “Mendivil showed he has no regard for the safety of other drivers on the roadway. This is another example of the types of incidents our Pinal County families are forced to live with as a result of an unsecured border. While this current administration says those who enter into the United States from Mexico are only coming for a better life, these cases are a constant reminder that is not true and why we need to secure our southern border.”
Public Information Officer

Jim Knupp
520.483.4502
pcsopio@pinalcountyaz.gov



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