A Safford police officer on patrol last Friday at approximately 11:30 p.m., passed a vehicle going 50 miles per hour in a 35 mile-per-hour zone on Highway 70. The officer conducted a traffic stop and noticed that the driver, identified as Gavino Cruz, was moving around a lot. The officer instructed Cruz to keep his hands on the wheel but while the officer was explaining the reason for the stop, Cruz apparently took his hands off the wheel.
The officer asked him to step out of the car and patted down the outside of his clothing, which revealed a pistol magazine loaded with 9mm bullets. The officer asked Cruz if he had a weapon and he said that he had one in his vehicle.
The officer suspected that Cruz was under the influence of some type of drug based on his speech, actions and movements. Cruz admitted that he had used meth at about 3 p.m. that day. After failing the field sobriety tests, Cruz was placed under arrest for DUI. Other officers arrived to inventory the vehicle before having it towed from the scene. Authorities found 3 fully loaded Ruger 9mm magazines in the driver’s side door of the vehicle. They found a Ruger 9mm pistol under the center console. The pistol had a fully loaded magazine with one round in the chamber. The gun was unloaded and taken into evidence.
Cruz was transported to the Safford police department for processing and a blood draw. A background check revealed that he had several felony convictions. Authorities advised him that he was not going to get the firearm back and asked him where he got it. Cruz said that he bought it from a friend in Tucson. A report was forwarded to the county attorney for unlawful possession of a firearm.
Cruz opted to leave the police department on foot, saying that he had relatives in the area.