Drugs

A local man is accused in Pinal County of trying to smuggle this load of hard drugs.

A Santa Cruz County man was caught while driving an SUV packed with nearly $1.8 million in methamphetamine, heroin and fentanyl, according to the Pinal County Sheriff's Office.

The incident happened on the afternoon of Oct. 1, when a K-9 unit deputy conducted a traffic stop on an SUV traveling west on Interstate 10 near Casa Grande, the PCSO said in a news release.

The driver, 46-year-old Rogelio Bustamante, had an outstanding warrant out of Nogales and was driving on a suspended license.

“Deputies found inconsistencies with Bustamante's story, and had evidence to investigate further,” the PCSO said.

During a search of the vehicle, the deputies reportedly discovered drug bundles stashed all throughout the SUV.

The load turned out to be 166 packages containing 54,840 fentanyl pills, 125 pounds of heroin and 104 pounds of meth.

The PCSO called it one of their largest drug busts in recent years.

“Without a doubt, lives were saved by stopping these drugs from being scattered across our communities,” Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb said in the news release.

The bust came as part of the PCSO’s participation in Operation Stonegarden, a federal program that funds local law enforcement to help the U.S. Border Patrol in its mission.

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