heightened focus on drug smugglers has led to the confiscation of 1,333 pounds of marijuana, a handful of arrests and a number of illegal immigrants turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol.
In partnership with the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, as well as other federal, tribal and state law enforcement agencies, the Maricopa Police Department cracked down on drug smuggling through the city in a week-long operation. Dubbed “Eagle Talon,” the MPD worked with these agencies over the course of a week during the beginning of May to “coordinate crime-fighting efforts at persons, vehicles and criminal activity involved in the transportation of illegal drugs through the city of Maricopa,” according to a statement from MPD spokesperson Ofc. Ricardo Alvarado. The operation had more than 60 traffic stops. In three of those instances, vehicle occupants fled on foot into the desert, but were later captured thanks to the multi-agency cooperation and support from the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office air unit. On one particular stop, a black SUV and attached trailer containing 1,333 pounds of marijuana was discovered and seized. The marijuana had a street value of nearly $750,000, according to MPD. The occupants of the black SUV were Mexican nationals identified as Luis Vasques-Hernandez, Anselmo Oliva-Pacheco and Jose Acosta, who were booked into the Pinal County Detention Center on numerous felony drug charges.