RED ROCK — A fugitive wanted on eight felony warrants from Texas and Oklahoma was apprehended on Interstate 10 by two Coolidge police officers working on an Operation Stonegarden patrol.

Police became suspicious when they noticed a 2017 Kia with Florida license plates driving erratically and at varying speeds on the freeway near Red Rock at about 8 a.m. Sept. 11 and conducted a stop in the eastbound lanes at milepost 222. The two officers, Sgt. Jason Masterson and Joel Martinez, were on patrol between Casa Grande and Red Rock.

The driver first provided a false name but was later identified at the Border Patrol station in Casa Grande as Robert W. Thomas Jr., 27, of Houston. After Thomas was fingerprinted, police learned of the seven Texas warrants and one from Oklahoma, all of which were active, on burglary charges.

The warrants totaled $888,888, and Thomas was listed as belonging to a gang from Texas and was considered an escape risk, according to the warrants. Thomas told police he had spent some time in San Diego and was returning to Texas.

He has been extradited to Texas on the burglary warrants, Coolidge Police said. Charges against Thomas in Arizona include providing false information to law enforcement and failure to provide identification, according to Masterson’s report. Police also confiscated $5,597 from the vehicle.

At the traffic stop on I-10, Thomas told police his name was Rodney, but the name, height and weight did not match with a police background check. He also told police he didn’t know his Social Security number but that he could retrieve it from his mother. Two female passengers in the Kia told police the man’s name was Rodney but they did not know his last name.

The 27- and 20-year-old women, both of Houston, were released at the scene with the car and no charges.

Operation Stonegarden Program supports enhanced cooperation and coordination among U.S. Customs and Border Protection and local law enforcement agencies through joint efforts to include travel corridors in states bordering Mexico.


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