Operation Stonegarden (copy)

A group of immigrants from Guatemala are taken into custody during Operation Stonegarden southeast of Ajo in 2019 with the aid of a Pinal County Sheriff’s Office helicopter.

SELLS — The crew of a Pinal County Sheriff’s Office helicopter had a hard landing Wednesday north of Sells on the Tohono O’odham Nation.

According to PCSO, the helicopter was assisting the U.S. Border Patrol on an Operation Stonegarden mission and had to make an emergency landing due to a mechanical problem.

No one was injured in the landing and there was minor damage to the helicopter. PCSO is investigating what caused the problem.

The Sheriff’s Office and its helicopters have been known to work with the Border Patrol on a regular basis. Operation Stonegarden is a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant program that provides funding to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to help guard the U.S. border.

The helicopter is not the same PCSO helicopter that was involved in a 2013 emergency landing. The 2013 emergency landing also involved a mechanical problem.


Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa is a reporter covering the city of Casa Grande and the surrounding area, as well as Central Arizona College. She can be reached at sadams@pinalcentral.com.

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