Suspicious vehicle found with drugs

SAFFORD – Last Monday, August 6th around 11:00pm, an officer observed a car with Minnesota plates, coming to a stop and parking in the 500 block of 5th Avenue. The vehicle parked in front of a residence and shut off its lights, but the driver stayed in the car. The officer decided to check on the driver to make sure everything was ok. The officer approached the front passenger window which was down to speak with the driver. The driver assured the officer that he was ok, he was just charging his phone and that he was just visiting from Minnesota. The officer could see a spare tire laying on the rear seat, and was informed by the driver that he had let a friend use the spare tire, and it was just returned to him.

As the officer spoke with the driver about who he was visiting, it was noticed that the driver was talking fast and appeared nervous and fidgety. Authorities asked about weapons, and the driver pointed to a razor blade on the passenger side floorboard. When the officer used his light to see the razor, a rolled piece of tinfoil could be seen next to it. When the driver was asked about it, he stated that he was not going to lie, he was a drug addict that uses heroin, but he did not have any identification.  He was asked to step out of the car, and as he was standing up, two pieces of folded tin foil and a tooter straw fell to the ground at his feet.  The driver was handcuffed, and authorities examined the foil finding meth in one of them, and heroin in the other. The driver was identified as Joshua Merino and it was discovered that his Arizona driver’s license had been suspended. Merino reportedly said that he had used heroin that day and meth a few days ago. He said that he has had a drug problem for about 1 1/2 years.

The officer informed Merino that a report would be sent to the Graham County Attorney’s Office and he was released. However, the vehicle was towed from the scene.