A man believed to be delivering supplies to cartel members in the Arizona desert rammed an Arizona Department of Public Safety patrol car Monday morning.
Department of Public Safety spokesman Bart Graves said officers pulled the man over for a traffic violation along Interstate 10 near Wild Horse Pass.
Angel Antonio Flores Tirado, a 26-year-old Mexican citizen, refused to obey the DPS officer and instead placed his pickup truck into reverse. Flores then rammed the officer's patrol car and fled from the scene, officers said.
Tirado "took a leisurely drive" toward Sun Lakes, DPS said.
Graves said for safety reasons DPS officers did not pursue him but instead called Chandler police to stop him.
Tirado abandoned his vehicle near the gate of a private community in Sun Lakes. Tirado had left the vehicle in drive, so it rolled into and damaged the gate of the Oakwood Country Club near Dobson Road and Sun Lakes.
Chandler police located Tirado a short time later near Alma School and Riggs roads.
The truck was loaded with a significant amount of survival gear along with food, beverages and clothing, including multiple pairs of walking shoes and camouflage jackets.
Officers also found multiple batteries and cell phones in addition to a loaded 9mm Glock handgun and ammunition.
Tirado told the DPS officer he was going to drop off the supplies at the rest area near Casa Grande.
Based on the suspect's statements, authorities said they believe he was en route to resupply cartel members operating in the desert. It's not known if the cartel members he was likely supporting were involved in human smuggling, drug smuggling or both, DPS said.
Flores was booked into the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Jail on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon/dangerous instrument, aggravated assault-police officer, unlawful flight from law enforcement vehicle, false reporting to law enforcement, possession of weapon by prohibited person and criminal damage.
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