DECEMBER 11, 2013
Another pursuit tied to drug and human smuggling
On Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 4:55 a.m. a Pinal County Sheriff’s Deputy who was working with the West Desert Task Force attempted to stop a 2004 Chevy truck after he observed it speeding on Highway 84. When the deputy activated his emergency lights, the vehicle failed to yield and a pursuit was initiated. The vehicle eventually stopped after it ran into a concrete culvert as it attempted to turn into a farm field in the area of White and Parker Road.
The doors to the truck opened and three Hispanic males ran in a southeasterly direction. The deputy chased the driver on foot who was later identified as Ignacio Nunez (age 25 of Phoenix) and was able to take him into custody. The other two males continued to run. Inside of the bed of the truck, deputies located 20 bundles of packaged marijuana. The marijuana weighed 420 pounds with an estimated street value of $315,000. Also seized was a Motorola handheld radio along with several batteries for the radio.
Nunez said that he was offered $2,000 to pick up the marijuana and illegals from a location south of Highway 84 and drive them to Phoenix. He stopped along the highway and his truck was loaded with the marijuana by individuals who were hiding by the side of the road. After his truck was loaded, two of the illegals got into his truck. Nunez said he knew it was illegal but he wanted the money to help his sick parents in Mexico.
Members of the U.S. Border Patrol responded and assisted deputies in searching for the two passengers who fled on foot but they were never located.
Ignacio Nunez was booked for Possession of Marijuana for Sale, Transportation of Marijuana, Possession of Marijuana and Felony Flight.
Sheriff Paul Babeu said, "We have seized Nunez's truck since it was used to transport drugs for the Mexican Drug cartels. He will also face prison time. The only way criminals learn is through stiff consequences, not by being coddled, defended by a list of excuses and being walked back by means of the revolving door installed by the federal government."
The West Desert Task Force is a joint initiative between U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations and the Pinal County Sheriff’s Department to combat narcotics trafficking in the West Desert region of Arizona. The task force is sponsored by the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and works in association with the Alliance to Combat Transnational Threats (ACTT).