A drug-sniffing dog and its handler were a suspected Tucson drug runner’s undoing Tuesday.
Just before 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, a sheriff’s deputy pulled over a Ford Expedition for a traffic violation. The SUV was westbound on U.S. 60 near mile marker 218 northeast of Florence.
The driver, Anthony Benitez, 39, of Tucson, “was very nervous and had difficulty standing still,” Sgt. Pat Ramirez, spokesman for the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, said in a news release.
Narcotics detection dog, Aza, “conducted a sniff around the outside of the vehicle and immediately alerted to the presence of illegal drugs inside of the vehicle,” Ramirez said.
Inside of the vehicle, the deputy found 5 grams of marijuana, 1.85 ounces of methamphetamines, three methamphetamine pipes, a drug scale, a .38 caliber revolver and a black bag containing $2,009 in cash, Ramirez said. Benitez had $809 in cash in his pockets.
Benitez has an extensive past criminal record that includes: possession of dangerous drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, assault, driving on a suspended license, burglary, theft and possession of burglary tools, Ramirez said.
He was booked into the Pinal County jail and faces charges of possession of dangerous drugs, possession of dangerous drugs for sale, transportation of dangerous drugs, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and misconduct involved weapons.
The vehicle, money and drugs were all seized.