Safford – Police were dispatched to an area on 8th Street in Safford on Wednesday in reference to a suspicious vehicle parked in front of an apartment complex. The reporting party told authorities that the vehicle did not belong to a tenant of the complex and that the occupant was acting strange.
Upon arrival, the responding officer noted that a man was reclined back in the driver’s seat of an older Chevy Blazer. The vehicle had its hood up and the windows were down. The officer approached the car on the passenger side. The officer asked the man what he was doing there, and he said that he was working on his car. When asked if he lived in one of the apartments he said, “No.”
The officer noticed that there was a large knife in between the driver’s seat and the center console. The man, identified as Eddie Ray Sanchez, began acting nervous and making furtive hand movements around the knife. The officer asked him to keep his hands away from the knife, but he wouldn’t comply, so the officer asked him to step out of the vehicle. Sanchez complied, but stood in the doorway of the car. He didn’t comply with an initial request to step away from the vehicle. Instead, he reached inside the car all the way across to the passenger seat as if he was going to grab something. When he was told again to step away from the car, he complied.
The officer then walked to the driver’s side of the vehicle and asked for the man’s ID. The man said that he had left his wallet at the house but identified himself as Ray Sanchez. According to the police report, Sanchez continued to act nervous by continually moving and looking around. The officer requested a check on his name. While waiting for a reply, Sanchez began to pace back and forth and put his hands in his pocket. The officer asked if he had anything illegal in his pockets. Sanchez replied that he did not.
The officer asked to search him, but while attempting to check Sanchez’s pocket, he walked away a few steps, then turned around and said, “What?” Sanchez apparently said that he didn’t want to be touched, and began to act annoyed. The officer noted that he began sweating profusely.
Dispatch notified the officer that they could not find a record for Sanchez and requested confirmation of his date of birth. At this point, Sanchez fled the scene, running south out of the parking lot toward 8th Street and then toward 1st Avenue. The officer advised other law enforcement units of his location. A state Trooper apprehended Sanchez and placed him in the back of his patrol vehicle. The trooper reported that he had found an empty plastic baggie on the ground next to Sanchez with what appeared to be residue inside it.
An outstanding warrant was confirmed and the Safford officer took custody of Sanchez and transported him to the jail where he was more thoroughly searched. A crystal-like substance that appeared to be methamphetamine was found in his left pocket. The substance tested positive for methamphetamine. The officer was notified of another warrant for Sanchez, so he was booked on two warrants. He requested that his car be left where it was, telling authorities that he would bond out in a few hours.