PHOENIX — Authorities in southern Arizona have found a deputy wounded in a shootout with suspected drug smugglers after a frantic hour-long desert search.
Pinal County sheriff’s Lt. Tamatha Villar says the deputy suffered a superficial wound to his abdomen after being shot with an AK-47 assault rifle Friday afternoon. He was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Casa Grande, about 40 miles south of Phoenix.
Villar says the deputy was doing smuggling interdiction work and found bales of marijuana in the desert. He then encountered five suspected illegal immigrants, two armed with rifles, and was shot.
A search was on in the rugged desert about 50 miles south of Phoenix for the five suspects. Hundreds of officers were involved.