Two men were arrested Friday after a Pinal County sheriff’s deputy found $34,500 worth of marijuana in their pickup truck.
At about 8:20 a.m., the deputy stopped a 2000 Chevy Silverado extended cab truck northbound on John Wayne Parkway near Maricopa northwest of Casa Grande after he observed the driver commit several traffic violations.
“When the deputy activated his emergency lights, the vehicle stopped in the middle of the roadway. The driver then got out of his vehicle and walked towards the deputy,” Tim Gaffney, spokesman for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, said in a news release. “The deputy told him to get back into his vehicle and pull to the side of the road. The driver got back into the vehicle then drove a short distance stopped and walked to the deputy once again.”
When the deputy approached the truck to speak with the passenger, he saw two bundles of marijuana in the cab.
The driver, Cesar Beltran-Munoz, 29, and the passenger Jose Antone Renteria, 20, both of Mexico, were both taken into custody. The two bundles of marijuana weighed 46.
Both men admitted to being in the United States illegally, Gaffney said.
Beltran-Munoz told deputies Renteria and another man backpacked the marijuana from Mexico into the United States. Beltran-Munoz picked up both men along the highway, Gaffney said. He dropped the first man off in Hidden Valley and he was taking Renteria to Phoenix. In exchange for the ride, Beltran-Munoz said he would be paid $600.
Renteria told deputies he had been deported several times in the past and he had prior arrests for smuggling marijuana, Gaffney said.
The men were booked into the Pinal County jail and face charges of possession of marijuana for sale, transportation of marijuana and possession of marijuana.