On Thursday, August 1, at 5:54 p.m., a Pinal County Sheriff’s Office - K-9 deputy was traveling westbound on Interstate-10 near milepost 203 when he observed a 2001 Dodge Caravan traveling in front of him. After observing several traffic violations, the deputy stopped the vehicle.

The deputy could see there was a large sign in the back window of the vehicle. As the deputy walked up to the vehicle, he could see the sign was attempting to hide numerous bundles of packaged marijuana.

The driver of the vehicle was identified as Thomas Duke, 26, of Tucson, and the female passenger was Desiree Romero, 28, of Sierra Vista. The driver and passenger in the vehicle were very nervous and claimed not to know each other.

Thomas and Desiree were both taken into custody without incident for the marijuana.

There were a total of 14 bundles of marijuana inside of the vehicle, which weighed 340 pounds. The marijuana has a street value of $272,000. Desiree also had a vial of methamphetamine and a pipe in her purse. Thomas is currently on parole for forgery, identity theft and other prior criminal offenses.

Both Thomas and Desiree were searched prior to being transported to the Pinal County Adult Detention Facility. Thomas and Desiree were also asked before being transported if they had any drugs on their person and both denied having any.

Thomas and Desiree were searched once again at the jail. While being searched at the jail, Desiree attempted to grab and eat a gram each of marijuana and methamphetamine both of which were located in her vaginal area. Detention officers were able to get the drugs out of her mouth and keep the evidence from being destroyed.

Thomas and Desiree were both charged with Possession of Marijuana for Sale, Transportation of Marijuana and Possession of Marijuana. Desiree was also charged with Possession of a Dangerous Drug, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Promoting Prison Contraband.

Sheriff Paul Babeu stated, “Those smuggling marijuana and other drugs whether for themselves or others will try to conceal them from law enforcement in a variety of ways. Desiree found out the hard way if you smuggle drugs not only will you get caught but if you smuggle them into a jail the consequences are even greater.”

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