Omar Cota, 18, left, Juan Lopez-Guzman, 21, and Eduardo Sanchez, 18, were stopped on I-10 near Picacho early Friday.

Pinal County Sheriff’s Office

Two Tucson teens and a man from Mexico were arrested in Pinal County early Friday morning on suspicion of drug smuggling.

At about 1:15 a.m. a Pinal County Sheriff’s Office deputy on patrol westbound on Interstate 10 near Picacho saw two cars traveling in the same lane commit traffic violations, Tim Gaffney, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, said in a news release.

The deputy activated his emergency lights and tried to stop the front vehicle, a 1992 Nissan passenger car.

The rear vehicle, a 2001 Oldsmobile passenger car, slowed and the deputy got between it and the Nissan. As the Nissan slowed to about 40 miles per hour, the driver of the Oldsmobile “pulled up alongside of the front vehicle and the two drivers began to yell back and forth to each other.”

The deputy turned on his siren and the Nissan “suddenly pulled to the right and stopped. After stopping, the driver and passenger ran into the desert,” Gaffney said.

Inside the Nissan, the deputy found four bundles of marijuana, which weighed a total of 84 pounds and had a street value of $63,000.

As a second deputy pulled over the Oldsmobile and arrested the driver, 18-year-old Eduardo Sanchez of Tucson, other deputies, along with members of the U.S. Border Patrol, searched the desert for the driver and passenger from the Nissan. Both the passenger, Juan Lopez-Guzman, 21, of Mexico, and the driver, Omar Cota, 18, of Tucson, were found nearby.

All three were booked into the Pinal County jail and face charges of possession of marijuana, transportation of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale, the news release stated. Cota faces an additional charge of felony flight.

Both vehicles were seized along with the $1,800 in cash Cota had in his pocket.

Kimberly Matas