SAFFORD – An officer was traveling westbound on Highway 70 in Safford at approximately 11:00 p.m. last Monday night when he noticed the smell of burning marijuana in the air. He was following a sedan and a truck when he first smelled the odor. The sedan turned off on a side street, but the smell continued as the officer drove behind the truck. The officer saw a puff of smoke come from the cab of the truck and again smelled the odor of burning marijuana. By this time there were no other cars on the road.
The officer activated his emergency lights and and the truck continued a few hundred feet before pulling over into a lot just west of McDonalds. Before the truck pulled over, it appeared that the driver and passenger were moving around in the cab.
The officer approached the vehicle and contacted the driver and passenger. The officer could smell a moderate odor of burned marijuana coming from inside the vehicle and on the driver. The officer told the driver that he had smelled marijuana when following the truck and saw puffs of smoke coming out of the cab. The driver denied having any marijuana in the truck but admitted that he had smoked it earlier. The passenger did not speak English. The officer asked if either of them had a medical marijuana card. Neither did.
When other officers arrived the two men were asked to exit the truck. Both men allowed authorities to search them but nothing illegal was found. The driver was identified by a Texas driver’s license. The passenger did not have ID but said that he was from Mexico and had a Mexican passport at his hotel. Officers searched the truck but did not find anything illegal.
An officer made contact with Border Patrol agents who asked to speak with the passenger who did not speak English. After speaking with the man, the Border Patrol agent told the officer that he believed the passenger was here illegally and was coming to pick him up. An officer transported the passenger to Border Patrol agents and turned him over to them.
The driver of the truck failed a field sobriety test and was placed under arrest for DUI. He was taken to the Safford Police Department for a blood test, then released to a co-worker.