Arizona deputies, K-9, track down suspects allegedly trafficking $1.4M worth of fentanyl, deputies say

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Law enforcement officers in Arizona discovered 72,000 suspected fentanyl pills during a traffic stop leading to a police chase involving a fleeing suspect.

Police said the suspected fentanyl pills were worth $1.4 million.

Navajo County Sheriff’s deputies seized the suspected fentanyl pills during a traffic stop on Monday.

Officials said that the driver and the passenger were asked to step out of the vehicle.

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Iracema Ramirez, 37, booking photo at Navajo County Sheriff's Office in Arizona.

Iracema Ramirez, 37, booking photo at Navajo County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona.
(Navajo County Sheriff’s Office)

Rafael Quihui Andrade, 29, booking photo at Navajo County Sheriff's Office in Arizona.

Rafael Quihui Andrade, 29, booking photo at Navajo County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona.
(Navajo County Sheriff’s Office)

Once they had stepped out, the passenger, 29-year-old Rafael Quihui Andrade, ran to the driver’s side and drove away, leaving the other suspect, 37-year-old Iracema Ramirez along the highway.

“In a split second, Rafael ran to the driver’s seat and fled the traffic stop eastbound, leaving the female on the side of the road,” deputies told Fox 10.

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Another deputy went after Andrade and found the abandoned car 3 miles away from the initial traffic stop.

A search for Andrade commenced with Navajo County deputies eventually finding the suspect hiding behind rocks in the desert.

Police performed a free air sniff with a K-9, and the dog alerted authorities to the presence of drugs. 

However, law enforcement did not find an illegal substance inside the vehicle.

Detectives searched the area between the traffic stop and the location of the car and discovered a duffel bag with the illegal fentanyl pills.

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The two suspects, both from Phoenix, were booked into the Navajo County Jail on a $1.5 million cash-only bond on drug charges and unlawful flight from law enforcement.

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