ARIZONA NEWS

New Mexico man indicted after 47 pounds of fentanyl found during traffic stop in Arizona

May 14, 2024, 4:05 AM

Jury indicted a New Mexico man after 47 pounds of fentanyl found...

Prosecutors said the suspect was caught while driving on the Interstate 40 near Sanders, right. (File photos: Arizona Department of Public Safety, Wikipedia)

(File photos: Arizona Department of Public Safety, Wikipedia)

PHOENIX — A federal grand jury indicted a New Mexico man last week after a traffic stop in Arizona revealed almost 50 pounds of hidden drugs, authorities said.

The incident took place on April 7, according to a Monday announcement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Arizona.

The traffic stop took place while Luis Angel Pulido, 22, drove on the Interstate 40 near a census-designated place called Sanders, prosecutors said.

What happened before jury indicted a New Mexico man over fentanyl?

Pulido allegedly violated civil traffic laws while driving on the Navajo Nation Indian Reservation.

After he pulled over for the stop, a drug-sniffing canine picked up on the scent of the hidden fentanyl, prosecutors said.

Officers with the Bureau of Indian Affairs then searched the vehicle. They allegedly found around 47 pounds of hidden fentanyl pills.

They weren’t there by accident: Pulido “knowingly and intentionally possessed with the intent to distribute,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Arizona said.

In fact, Pulido hid the fentanyl in the trunk of his vehicle, prosecutors said.

He now faces a potential maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million. Additionally, the punishment for this crime also includes up to a lifetime of supervised release.

Fentanyl a growing crisis in Arizona, state leaders say

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said the amount of fentanyl flowing over the border is “incredible.”

In fact, as of April, over 2,200 fentanyl cases have been filed, she told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News show last week.

It’s the county’s primary drug concern, but, as Pulido’s case shows, the issue threatens the entire state.

In fact, the Arizona Department of Public Safety warned the public that it seized over seven million fentanyl pills from Sept. 1, 2023, to March 22, 2024. That’s a little over 1,500 pounds of fentanyl.

Mitchell said she expects the amount of fentanyl cases this year to exceed last year’s numbers.

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New Mexico man indicted after 47 pounds of fentanyl found during traffic stop in Arizona