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YCSO K9 Team Arrests Smuggler with 18 Pounds of Meth

Jhampier Mendoza Torez of Mexico arrested for drug smuggling on Arizona I-17 northbound.

Sedona AZ –  On February 12, 2019, around 1:30 a.m., Jhampier Mendoza Torez, 20, the driver of a car pulled over for a traffic stop on AZ I-17 northbound, near mile marker 276 at Cordes Lakes, Arizona, was arrested and is being charged with Transportation of Dangerous Drugs (18 pounds of crystal meth), Possession of Dangerous Drugs for Sales, Possession of Dangerous Drugs, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

He remains in custody on a $500,000 cash bond.

At the indicated time and date, a YCSO K9 deputy stopped a black 2014 Camaro with New Mexico plates for moving and equipment violations. The driver and only occupant, Torez, provided a Mexican license. Torez remained unusually nervous during the initial interaction with the K9 deputy and contradicted himself when discussing his travel itinerary, other than noting he was coming from Phoenix. Based on the K9 Deputy’s training and experience he believed Torez was concealing contraband, likely drugs, and asked for permission to search the vehicle. Torez declined.

As a result, the deputy’s partner deployed his certified K9, Haddie, for an exterior sniff of the Camaro. Haddie gave a positive alert to the odor of drugs coming from the vehicle.

YCSO K9 Haddie detected drugs

Based on the alert, deputies searched the vehicle for the source of the odor and noticed tooling marks on the rear driver seat panel which indicated the panel had been removed previously. Similar marks were found on the passenger seat panel which, when removed and the foam inserts pulled away, reveled packages of what appeared to be methamphetamine.

A total of 18 plastic food saver bags were removed, each weighing a pound. A later examination confirmed the contents were high grade methamphetamine.

During an interview with Torez, he admitted being paid to transport meth. He also acknowledged prior smuggling activity and using the money to support his family.

Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260 or the YCSO website at  www.ycsoaz.gov.

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