Oct 22, 2013 2:00 PM by Faye DeHoff

Woman stopped near Maricopa with illegals, marijuana in vehicle

MARICOPA, PINAL COUNTY - A routine stop for traffic violations leads to a surprise find of illegal immigrants hiding in the vehicle, plus marijuana and cash.

On Friday, October 18th, just after 10 a.m., a Pinal County Sheriff's K-9 deputy stopped a Ford Explorer for traffic violations at State Route 347 near the City of Maricopa. The driver of the vehicle was later identified per her Mexico driver's license as 29-year old Janette Salido-Hernandez.

Inside of the vehicle, there was a male front seat passenger and three male passengers sitting in the second row back. In the rear cargo compartment the deputy could see a blanket which was spread out, but the blanket kept moving. Underneath the blanket, the deputy discovered seven males and a bundle of marijuana. The front seat passenger also had a bundle of marijuana between his legs.

Hernandez and all eleven passengers were removed from the vehicle. The 11 passengers admitted they were in the United States illegally. All claimed no knowledge of the marijuana.

Hernandez was arrested. The 11 passengers were turned over to the Border Patrol for processing. The vehicle was seized along with the $759 in cash Hernandez had in her purse. Inside of the vehicle was also a backpack which contained Motorola batteries, cell phones, a handheld radio and other personal hygiene items.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said, "hernandez told detectives she left the home she was living at in Phoenix and was heade to Harrah's casino. She claimed she saw a male subject standing by the side of Highway 347 attempting to wave her down. She stopped and the next thing she knew the male subject and all of the others got into her vehicle. Hernandez said she usually stops and helps people when they are stranded. The males offered her $300 in cash to take them to Phoenix. She knew what she was doing was wrong. She also claimed no knowledge to the marijuana inside of her vehicle."

Hernandez was arrested for possession of marijuana for sale.

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