A Chandler woman accused of human and drug smuggling offenses was arrested this weekend by Pinal County Sheriff’s Deputies after an officer noticed at least eight people inside her vehicle as she was traveling west on Highway 84.
The woman, Carol Rivera, was arrested by Ak Chin Tribal Police about 5:30 a.m. Sunday on suspicion of human and drug smuggling soon after deputies issued an alert on her vehicle.
Rivera’s vehicle was one of two suspicious vehicles deputies were following early Sunday that they believed were involved in some kind of smuggling operation. While initiating a traffic stop on a 1997 Ford Expedition, deputies discovered about 300 pounds of marijuana inside before two suspects fled into the desert. Moments later, Rivera drove past in a 2004 Chevrolet registered to her mother, triggering the alert on her vehicle, according to deputies.
When police initiated a traffic stop on Rivera’s vehicle, they discovered that six of the eight people inside of it were illegal immigrants from Mexico.
The suspects were turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol to face the human smuggling offenses, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office said.