Hit-run arrest made in bus driver's death

A 24-year-old man was arrested Wednesday in connection with the fatal hit-and-run of Sun Tran bus driver John Akers.

Enrique Hernandez is facing charges of second-degree murder and leaving the scene of an accident involving serious injury or death, said Deputy Tracy Suitt, a Pima County Sheriff's Department spokesman.

During the investigation, Hernandez's fingerprints and DNA were obtained by detectives, according to court documents.

Akers, 64, who had worked for Sun Tran since May 1974, was riding his bicycle to work on May 23 when he was struck and killed about 3:30 a.m. at the intersection of West Irvington and South Mission roads.

Akers was struck by a silver 2001 Saturn, according to court documents.

Akers was riding his bicycle north on Mission Road and was in the middle of the intersection when a car traveling east on Irvington Road hit him and fled the scene, authorities said.

Witnesses provided a description of the suspect's vehicle, and deputies found it hours later on the city's northwest side.

Carmen Duarte

Erratic driver killed on 1-19 is identified

A person killed in a two-vehicle crash on Interstate 19 near Pima Mine Road Tuesday evening was identified as Carmen Castañeda, 65, of Phoenix.

Castañeda was driving slowly on the right shoulder, heading northbound on the interstate, when she "suddenly turned left in front of oncoming traffic and was T-boned" by a commercial vehicle, an Arizona Department of Public Safety official said.

Carmen Duarte

3 plead guilty in case that resulted in death

Three defendants in a drug deal gone awry that resulted in a man's death pleaded guilty this week.

Michael Emanuel Ortega, 25, Julian Zepeda, 26, and Moises Fierros, 21, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Pima County Superior Court to conspiracy and illegally conducting an enterprise.

Zepeda also pleaded guilty to negligent homicide in the shooting death of Javier Bejarano, 22, and Ortega pleaded guilty to transporting more than 2 pounds of marijuana for sale.

The defendants arranged to sell 4 pounds of marijuana in May 2011. But instead of a buyer, they were met by Bejarano, who tried to steal the marijuana. A fight broke out, and Zepeda shot and killed Bejarano.

A date for sentencing has not been set. A fourth defendant, Kristin Olea, 24, is scheduled to stand trial in the case in July.

Patrick McNamara

2 abandoned vehicles found with pot loads

Two abandoned vehicles with a total of more than 3,400 pounds of marijuana were found by Border Patrol agents in two separate incidents Tuesday.

A Chevrolet suburban hidden under a tarp in dense brush was discovered with 1,964 pounds of marijuana valued at $982,000, according to a Customs and Border Protection news release.

Agents found the stolen vehicle near Arizona City at about 7 a.m.

Meanwhile at about the same time on the Tohono O'odham Nation, agents found another abandoned stolen vehicle near Komelik Village.

A Dodge Ram truck was found hidden under a tarp, and agents found 1,481 pounds of marijuana in the truck. The marijuana was valued at $740,500.

The vehicles were turned over to the Arizona Vehicle Theft Task Force, and the marijuana was taken to the Casa Grande Border Patrol Station for processing, authorities said.

Carmen Duarte

Boy accused of trying to smuggle drugs

A 14-year-old boy who attempted to smuggle drugs inside cans labeled maiz para pozole was arrested Tuesday at the Nogales port of entry, officials said. The teen lives in Nogales, Ariz.

As he tried to enter through the Morley pedestrian gate, officers checked a bag of groceries, and some items caught their attention. A drug-detecting dog was brought in, and the dog alerted to narcotics.

Officers opened cans labeled "Maiz Para Pozole" and found six packages containing nearly 6 pounds of methamphetamine and nearly 6 grams of cocaine, Customs and Border Protection officials say.

The teen was turned over to federal authorities.

Carmen Duarte

Description given of Quik Mart robber

The Pima County Sheriff's Department is asking the public for help in finding a man who was armed with a sawed-off shotgun when he robbed cigarettes from a northwest-side Quik Mart, at 900 W. Roger Road, about 3 a.m. on May 29.

He demanded money but the clerk said he couldn't get into the safe because it was time-delayed. The robber was described as 5 feet 8 inches tall with a thin build, wearing a black-hooded sweat shirt pulled down around his face, and with black material concealing his face. Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or 88-CRIME.

Carmen Duarte

On StarNet: Find an interactive crime map for Tucson and Pima County at azstarnet.com/crimemap