Woman 'helping' grandson might face smuggling charges - Tucson News Now

Woman 'helping' grandson might face smuggling charges

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(Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office) (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office)
(Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office) (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office)
Lewis (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office) Lewis (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office)
Perez-Felix (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office) Perez-Felix (Source: Pinal County Sheriff's Office)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Authorities arrested three people during a traffic stop in Pinal County after a woman said she was helping her grandson smuggle drugs and an illegal immigrant, according to a news release.

Sheriff's officials said 51-year-old Willa Thomas was pulled over early Thursday morning for a traffic violation on Ralston Road, north of Dune Shadow Road.

The officer noticed two passengers, 37-year-old Kevin Lewis and 35-year-old Claudio Perez-Felix, in addition to two burlap-wrapped bundles of marijuana in the backseat.

The officer had the suspects exit the car and they were detained.

Thomas told police she was helping because she needed money and her grandson offered to pay her $500, according to a news release. Perez-Felix admitted to being undocumented.

"Perez-Felix is also a drug smuggler and was working with U.S. criminals," Sheriff Paul Babeu stated in the release. "Lewis has a semi-auto handgun and a police scanner which was monitoring our radio conversations."

The two bundles of marijuana weighed almost 55 pounds and were estimated to be worth $41,500.

Lewis and Perez-Felix were arrested for possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale and transportation of marijuana. Authorities discovered Perez-Felix has an immigration hold and warrant for his arrest in Chandler for a previous DUI, the release said.

Thomas was released from custody due to preexisting medical issues. Authorities said they will request she be charged with the same offenses.

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