SAFFORD – In the early hours of Thursday morning, a Safford officer was on patrol when he noticed a car parked in an area known for drug activity with a couple of people hanging around outside. A check on the vehicle’s plate showed the registration had expired back in January. As he watched, a couple of people got in the car and headed to the Apricot Loop area.
The officer followed the car and then proceeded to pull them over. The officer approached the passenger window and informed the driver about the expired registration. The driver said he was unaware of it being expired, and that he could pay it online. As the officer asked for the driver’s license, he could smell the odor of raw marijuana coming from inside the vehicle. When asked if the driver had a medical marijuana card, he said that he did, and handed it to the officer. The card was going to expire the next day. The police inquired about any weapons in the vehicle and were told there was a .40 caliber pistol in the center console.
Throughout the conversation, the driver kept showing signs of being nervous and using what the officer considered “disclaimers” in hopes to portray to the officer that he is one of the “good guys.” He told the officer the pistol was his, along with the marijuana but was unsure how much he had. When asked the name of the passenger, the driver told them the first name, but then stated he needed to”call somebody.” The driver continued to act more tense, as well as showing he was concerned about what officers might find in his car. The police continued to ask him to keep his hands out of his pockets and due to the situation, the officer asked if he could pat the driver down for possible weapons, which the driver agreed. The driver showed the officer items in his pockets but according to the police report, it seemed to the officer that the driver’s nervous demeanor increased. One of the objects in his pocket the officer noticed was a fabric eye glass case. Eye glass cases are commonly used for storing illegal items. The officer noticed the driver was not wearing glasses and could see the shape of a meth pipe and also what he believed to be the stem portion of the meth pipe. The officer retrieved the eyeglass case and placed the driver under arrest. The driver asked to make a phone call as the officer located two bags of meth in the case, along with the meth pipe. After being asked what else authorities would find, the driver stated they would not find anything and that said he wanted to remain silent. When police searched the car they found the medical marijuana in a glass jar on the rear floorboard behind the passenger seat. It was clearly under 2.5 ounces. With the pistol, they retrieved a loaded magazine with bullets in it and a second loaded magazine in the console, however, there was not a bullet in the chamber of the pistol.
The passenger appeared to not be involved in criminal activity. When the driver agreed to speak with the authorities, he stated that he had used meth earlier in the day. He stated that he had been using meth “too long” and wanted to seek treatment for his addiction. The officer asked if he had ever been in trouble before and he said that he had not. The officer removed the handcuffs, and informed the man that a report would be sent to the Graham County Attorney’s office. The driver agreed to allow the passenger to drive the car from the scene.