Cochise County Deputy Injured Trying To Stop Suspected Human Smuggler

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Amber Bernadette Fuaga [Photo courtesy Cochise County Sheriff's Office]

A Cochise County Sheriff’s deputy is in a Tucson trauma center and a suspected human smuggler is in custody.

Amber Bernadette Fuaga, age 47, of Maricopa, was arrested and booked into the Cochise County jail on charges of Human Smuggling and Driving Under the Influence with additional charges pending.

According to Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels, on the evening of September 28, “during an interdiction attempt to stop a smuggler driver fleeing law enforcement, one of my deputies in the process of deploying spikes, fell 15 feet resulting in serious injuries. Life-saving measures to include rescue efforts were applied. The deputy was flown by helicopter to a Tucson trauma center.”

“This is the third time in the last several days where my deputies and citizens have been placed in harms way by reckless and violent criminal smugglers due to a border being neglected by those entrusted in Washington D.C. to protect Americans,” posted Dannels on Facebook. “Enough is Enough!”

The occupants inside of the vehicle fled the scene. “US Border Patrol remained in the area throughout the evening looking for them,” according to the Sheriff’s Office.

At approximately 4:00 p.m., on Friday, the Sheriff posted the following update:

Sheriff Mark Dannels issued the following statement this afternoon in regards to our injured deputy:

“I have met with the family of our injured deputy as we navigate resources and lodging during this emotional time. The family extends their sincere appreciation for all those who have extended prayers and best wishes to their family. The family has requested privacy while they focus on the healthy recovery of their loved one.
Our deputy has multiple fractures and is in the best medical hands with the staff at UMC. The deputy’s family and his Sheriff’s family are standing united as we wait for an update from medical staff.”

Sheriff Dannels is diligently working with his fellow sheriffs and law enforcement partners to enhance operational tempo to ensure that the rule of law and those that choose to violate it are apprehended and held accountable within the criminal justice system in support of our Cochise County citizens.

The Sheriff’s Office shared a report of one of the prior incidents on Facebook as well:

On Tuesday September 26, 2023 at approximately 6:18 pm a CCSO deputy attempted contact with a white Toyota Tundra in the area of Highway 191 near MP 2, the industrial complex for traffic violation.

Prior to affecting the stop, the vehicle pulled into the industrial area. As the CCSO Deputy was contacting the vehicle, 15-20 occupants bailed from the vehicle. As the deputy went to contact the driver, the female driver put the vehicle into reverse, striking the deputy vehicle.

The deputy had to get out of the way to avoid being struck. The vehicle backed into an unknown object on the property, damaging the truck. The deputy again had to move to avoid being struck as the vehicle fled towards Highway 191.

The vehicle fled north on 191 at speeds reaching 100 miles per hour. As CCSO deputies pursued the vehicle, it fled west onto Double Abobe Rd, before turning south onto Toltec Place.

The vehicle went offroad for several hundred yards before stopping. CBP Air and Marine operations were overhead and tracked the female driver and male passenger as they fled into the brush.

With assistance from USBP ground units, USBP K-9, USBP Horse Patrol, and CBP Office of Air and Marine air support, the female driver was tracked to a residence off of Brooks Roas near mile post 4.

The female was found hiding in a shed on the property, where she was taken into custody. The female is later identified as Paola Yarlin Parra Cardenas of Tucson, AZ. She was charged with Aggravated Assault on a Peace Officer, Unlawful Flight from Pursuing Law Enforcement, Criminal Damage (police vehicle).

As of this posting, the persons who bailed from the vehicle have not been located. As of this posting, male passenger has not been located.

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