Joe Arpaio, sheriff of Arizona's Maricopa County, put out a press release Tuesday after his deputies seized 2,094.5 pounds of marijuana. The suspects fled the pickup truck where the weed was found and no one was arrested, but Arpaio was quick to link the incident to "illegal aliens":
In this last month, Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputies have now arrested more than 20 illegal aliens and seized nearly two tons of marijuana.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio says, “Drug trafficking is increasing involving illegal aliens and I am preparing for another drug and illegal alien crime suppression operation.”
The truck's license plates were from Alberta, Canada, according to the Phoenix New Times. The paper asked the sheriff's office why undocumented workers featured so prominently in Arpaio's press release:
When asked about the sheriff's quote, MCSO spokesman Jeff Sprong tells New Times the majority of people arrested for transporting drugs in that area are also in the country illegally.
Arpaio is at the center of a Justice Department probe into charges of civil rights violations, including racial profiling, by his officers. He is also at the forefront of the birther movement, leading a posse of volunteers in an investigation into President Obama's birth certificate.