The Pinal County Sheriff's Office announced this morning that multiple law enforcement agencies are responsible for the arrests of 102 people and the recovery of more than 3,200 pounds of weed in the Vekol Valley during a four-day operation aimed at cleaning up the drug-plagued smuggling corridor.
The operation, which was carried out between February 16 and February 19, was aimed at "impacting the criminal element that is exploiting the Vekol Valley and Silver Bell Mountain Area."
In addition to the people and drugs, authorities also recovered seven stolen vehicles, and 12 firearms.
During one of the several busts, authorities arrested 30-year-old
Lucinda Lopez, who was caught smuggling three illegal immigrants through
the desert. One of those immigrants Lopez was trying to sneak into the
country was wanted for sexual assault.
"Pinal County has been labeled the Number One Pass Through County in All of America for Drug and Human Trafficking. I am very appreciative of the efforts of all of our law enforcement partners in helping us with this fight," Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu says in a statement. "As you can tell from this multi-agency detail and past details, the criminal activity level is not decreasing. This area needs a heavy and continuous law enforcement presence if we are to defeat those responsible for drug and human trafficking and the crimes associated with it."