By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – A couple of men who apparently abuse opiates were arrested Jan. 6 after an officer recognized one of them while they were at a local gas station.
Chevy Lopez, 37, was arrested and booked into the Graham County Jail for possession of a narcotic drug and possession of drug paraphernalia after officers located 15 hydrocodone pills in his possession. The driver of the vehicle, Michael Lucero, 30, was arrested and booked for possession of drug paraphernalia.
According to a Safford Police report, officers were parked in front of the Giant gas station at 105 E. U.S. Highway 70 at about 9:23 p.m. when one of the officers noticed Lucero. The officer learned Lucero had a revoked driver’s license, and, as Lucero got into the driver’s seat to leave, the officers initiated a traffic stop.
Upon contact with the men, the officers immediately noticed an odor of alcohol. Lucero said he had not been drinking but believed the odor was coming from Lopez, who said Lucero picked him up after he left a local bar and was giving him a ride home.
The officers were informed Lopez had two outstanding warrants, one extraditable to Greenlee County, and he was placed under arrest. At that time, the officers asked if Lopez had anything illegal on him and he pulled out some white pills from his pocket and identified them as Vicodin, which contains a combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone..
A total of 15 hydrocodone pills were retrieved from Lopez. The pills are labeled as a semisynthetic opioid made from alkaloids found in the opium poppy plant. Intended for extended release, abusers get more immediate highs from them by crushing the pills and then ingesting them in a variety of ways, including snorting, smoking and intravenous injection.
A search of Lucero yielded a cut pen with apparent drug residue that was melted at one end and a palm-sized piece of aluminum foil with apparent drug residue. A black satin pouch with a hypodermic syringe and a glass pipe with apparent drug residue were located in the vehicle in the center console. Both men denied ownership of the needle and pipe, but Lucero allegedly admitted to recent heroin use.
Officers also located two chain saws, two electric drills with two extension cords, a Skill saw and a Wagner paint sprayer in the back of the vehicle that they suspected could possibly be stolen. Nutcracker Towing removed the vehicle to be impounded and the tools were taken as evidence back to the Safford Police Department.