SAFFORD – Monday night, a Safford officer witnessed a vehicle changing lanes without signaling. As the patrol car got closer, the vehicle’s driver turned on the hazard lights, and pulled over to the shoulder of the roadway. As the officer pulled up behind the car, he noticed that the driver had gotten out and walked in front of the vehicle. The driver explained that he had pulled over because his vehicle was overheating. When authorities asked for his drivers license, the driver retrieved it from the center console identifying him as George Rizo. While Rizo was getting his license, the officer noticed a plastic bottle lying on the floorboard on the driver’s side behind the driver’s seat that had hand warmers fastened to the bottle with a rubber band. People involved in drug activity commonly carry bottled urine to pass urine tests for work or probation. The officer asked Rizo what was in the bottle and he confirmed that it was filled with urine because he needed it to pass the test to gain employment. He admitted that he had smoked marijuana a few weeks ago.
Another officer arrived and by the illuminating outside lights they could see part of a sandwich baggie and a folded piece of aluminum foil between the drivers seat cushions. After authorities informed Rizo what they could see and the fact that he admitted the use of illegal drugs, they conducted a search of the vehicle. Rizo then told them he had a meth pipe on the passengers side floorboard. After a search, officers located the meth pipe which had burnt black substance in the bowl and the clear baggie had a white residue inside. Rizo claimed ownership of the items and was cited for possession of drug paraphernalia but promised to appear before the municipal judge understanding that if he didn’t appear a warrant would be issued.