During September and October of this year, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Anti-Smuggling Enforcement Unit and Homeland Security Investigations have been investigating individuals involved with a network of drug and human smuggling. During the investigation, law enforcement has seized resupply vehicles and arrested individuals involved with drug and human smuggling.
The investigation concluded in Phoenix on October 16th, 2014 when Adam Chavarria (age 22 of Casa Grande), Adrian Pasos (age 22 of Casa Grande), Francisco Gastellum Camacho (age 19 of Mexico), Edwardo Ontavaris (age 16 of Mexico), Daniel Moreno Lugo (age 20 of Mexico), Fidel Galaviz (age 23 of Mexico), Jesus Navarez Ceballos (age 28 of Mexico), Jose Angulo Casas (age 24 of Mexico), and Pedro Lavador Ortega (age 20 of Mexico) were all arrested and booked into the Maricopa County Jail for Possession of Marijuana for Sale, Transportation of Marijuana and Human Smuggling related charges.
Information was learned of a possible smuggling organization during a traffic stop which was conducted in August of 2014. During the course of the investigation, detectives contacted Adam Chavarria when he was driving a 2001 Chevy Suburban and Adrian Pasos when he was driving a 2006 Chevy van after the vehicles both stopped in a parking lot near 59 Avenue and Thomas in Phoenix. The rear passenger seats of the van had been removed, detectives could see seven individuals’ dresses in camouflage along with 7 large bundled packs of marijuana. The seven individuals were laying on top of the bundles of marijuana.
All nine suspects were arrested with the assistance of Phoenix Police. The marijuana was seized and weighed a total of 276 pounds with an estimated street value of $200,250. Also seized was the two vehicles and later during a search warrant at the residence where Adam and Adrian were staying, a third vehicle (2007 Chevy Tahoe) which was also linked to this smuggling organization.
Adam Chavarria admitted to being involved with drug and human smuggling. The seven illegals and the bundles of marijuana were picked up earlier in the morning south of Arizona City. Adrian was driving the van and Adam was working at the guide.
Adrian admitted that he was going to be paid $100 to drive the van.
Also seized from the vehicles were “carpet shoes” which are commonly used by smugglers over their shoes to hide their tracks when walking through the desert, a Kenwood portable radio and approximately $4,000 in cash.
Sheriff Paul Babeu stated, “The drug and human smuggling operations tied to the violent cartels of Mexico will not stop until our southern border is secured. While the cartels continue to make their money through their illegal smuggling operations, our national security is at risk. If the cartels can come and go as they please through our southern borders, it’s logical to think and those wanting to do harm to America can come and go as they please just as easily.”