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Regional & National

US Immigration and Customs deportation officer arrested in pot smuggling

October 19th, 2011 2:13 pm by AMANDA LEE MYERS

PHOENIX (AP) — A deportation officer with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement led Arizona state police and federal agents on a high-speed chase in his government vehicle, throwing bundles of marijuana out of the window as he fled, the Department of Public Safety said Wednesday.

The deportation officer, whose name has not been released, had been under surveillance for more than month after a known smuggler who had been arrested gave authorities a tip about the officer in an effort to get lenient treatment, DPS Officer Carrick Cook told The Associated Press.

When DPS and federal agents tried to pull the officer over Tuesday after he picked up a load of marijuana in the desert with his unmarked ICE pickup truck, the officer fled, leading agents on a 45-minute chase at speeds of up to 110 mph as he threw 10 of the 14 bundles of pot that he had in the truck out of the window, Cook said.

"He got pretty desperate," Cook said.

The chase ended when the officer's vehicle rolled over and he gave himself up. He was booked into Pima County jail on charges of smuggling and felony flight.

DPS has not released his name, citing sensitivity because of their partnership with federal authorities.

ICE spokesman Vinnie Picard also declined to release the officer's name.

"ICE is cooperating with federal and state authorities in this matter," Picard said in a statement. "We hold our officers and agents to the highest levels of responsibility and are committed to supporting the agencies investigating this incident."

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Follow Amanda Lee Myers on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/AmandaLeeAP

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