Drugs Seized

Pinal County Fleet Services employees recently helped sheriff’s deputies recover more than 64 pounds of heroin and 18 pounds of fentanyl pills concealed in a vehicle.

FLORENCE — Pinal County Fleet Services employees recently helped sheriff’s deputies recover more than 64 pounds of heroin and 18 pounds of fentanyl pills concealed in a vehicle.

County Manager Leo Lew played a video of the unusual drug seizure and congratulated Fleet Services employees for “exemplifying the values of commitment and teamwork” at Wednesday’s Pinal County Board of Supervisors meeting.

The drugs were found after removing the gas tank, which is something deputies couldn’t have done themselves on the side of the road, Chief Deputy Matt Thomas said in the video. “Literally, Fleet helped us save lives by getting (these drugs) off the street,” he said.

Jeremy Stalter, fleet manager, said in the video that it was a privilege. “Everybody in here was just ecstatic. They were excited and they were proud to help.” Randon Riffey, Fleet Services director, said in the video they’re happy to respond to “unusual needs” like this from the Sheriff’s Office.

July 2021

Lew also played a “get to know your supervisor” video on Supervisor Jeff Serdy, R-Apache Junction, who took office at the beginning of the year.

Also Wednesday, the board approved an agreement for a Drug, Gang and Violent Crime Control grant from the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission for $141,380 to deter, investigate, prosecute and adjudicate such crimes. The grant includes local matching funds of $35,345.

Supervisor Kevin Cavanaugh, R-Coolidge, asked if some money would be spent in his district. Thomas replied the grant is county-wide. Cavanaugh said he has constituents asking for details on how the county is fighting these crimes, and they’re also asking for more deputies.

The board approved another Arizona Criminal Justice Commission grant to the Sheriff’s Office for $104,276 for the county’s Juvenile Redirection Program for overtime and employee-related expenses, class materials, horse therapy sessions and outside speakers. Thomas said the program, which attempts to help juveniles “and redirect them back on a good path,” has been in place for about three years.

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Mark Cowling is the county reporter for PinalCentral and covers the town of Florence, San Tan Valley and the surrounding area. He can be reached at mcowling@pinalcentral.com.