A suspected drug smuggler ended up face-first in a cow pie after fleeing from deputies Sunday.
Ruben Soto-Gonzalez, 25 of Casa Grande, was being chased through the feedlot of a dairy farm when a farm worker tripped him and he “fell forward face first into cow manure. A cow, who was startled by the commotion, stepped on the suspect while he was on the ground,” Tim Gaffney, spokesman for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, said in a news release.
Soto-Gonzales got up and punched the dairy worker several times in the face as the worker tried to restrain him for deputies, Gaffney said.
A second suspect, Daniel Aguilar-Alvarez, 40 of Mexico, was caught hiding under a shrub.
The chase began at about 8 a.m. when the Arizona Department of Public Safety sent out a description of a vehicle that a witness had seen being loaded with bundles of marijuana near Interstate 8 and Stanfield Road.
About 20 minutes later, a sheriff’s deputy saw a green Ford Taurus matching the suspect car description and tried to make a traffic stop. The driver sped away, traveling in excess of 100 miles per hour during the 35-minute pursuit, Gaffney said.
“Deputies attempted on several occasions to put out spike strips in an attempt to deflate the vehicles tires to end the pursuit. While one of the deputies was attempting to lay out the spike strips, the driver of the vehicle swerved and almost struck him,” Gaffney said.
Eventually the Taurus broke down and deputies could see thick black smoke coming from the vehicle's underside.
“The vehicle came to an abrupt stop on Amarillo Valley just south of Teel Road. The driver and passenger door opened and two Hispanic males ran in opposite directions from the vehicle,” Gaffney said.
During the scuffle, the dairy worker was injured and needed medical care, he said.
Inside of the Taurus, deputies found three packaged bundles of marijuana, weighing 160 pounds in total. The pot had a street value of $120,000.
Both men were booked into the Pinal County jail and face charges of possession of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale. Soto-Gonzalez also faces a charge of felony flight and two counts of aggravated assault.