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Traffic stop turns into largest drug bust in history for Casa Grande Police Department

Two men were arrested after officers found 138 lbs. of heroin and other drugs in their car.

CASA GRANDE, Ariz. — Two men were arrested after a traffic stop in Casa Grande last week turned into a drug bust, according to Casa Grande Police. 

On May 14, Casa Grande officers pulled a 2008 Buick Sedan over that was headed west on I-10 with the two men inside.  

The driver was identified as Luis Estrada, and he told officers that he is a citizen of Mexico, while the passenger was identified as Aubrey Salazar using an Arizona ID.  

During the traffic stop, officers found evidence of drugs in the car. Estrada and Salazar were then taken into custody and the car was searched.  

Officers found 138 lbs. of heroin, 1.5 lbs of cocaine and 50 lbs. of fentanyl pills in various parts of the car, including inside the spare tire in the trunk.   

This is the largest drug seizure in the history of the Casa Grande Police Department.

“A seizure of this magnitude disrupts drug operations in Arizona and beyond," Casa Grande Police Chief Mark McCrory said in a press release. "This seizure ultimately saved lives and prevented suffering to many families across the country. The Casa Grande Police Department will remain diligent in our efforts to curb illegal drug smuggling around, within, and through our community. We will continue to work closely with the Pinal County Attorney’s Office and local Judges to ensure anyone operating in our community will face the harshest penalties allowable.”  

The officers who pulled Estrad and Salazar over were working as part of the Operation Stonegarden grant.  

According to the Arizona Department of Homeland Security (AZDHS), Operation Stonegarden is a joint operation between Customs & Border Protection, U.S. Border Patrol and federal, state, local, tribal and territorial law enforcement agencies. 

It is focused on securing the U.S.-Mexico border through joint efforts. 

Earlier this month, the Casa Grande City Council approved a new grant from AZDHS to Casa Grande Police for Operation Stonegarden. CGPD is receiving $394,240.  

The grant will be used to pay officers overtime when working Operation Stonegarden patrols, along with administrative costs, employee-related expenses and provide reimbursement for vehicle mileage.  

CGPD has been part of Operation Stonegarden since 2011.  

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