Gila County Sheriff’s Office seizes thousands of Fentanyl-laced pills

Courtesy photo 50,000 Fentanyl-laced pills were seized during a traffic stop in Payson.

On Feb. 11 the Sheriff’s Office seized more that three million dollars in pills. The first seizure came at 5:48 p.m. when the Gila County Drug, Gang, and Violent Crimes Task Force attempted to conduct a traffic stop on State Route 87 and Bonita Street in Payson. The vehicle attempted to invade law enforcement fleeing to an area behind Bashas. At State Route 87 and State Route 260, where it stopped, and one subject was arrested. A second subject fled from the traffic stop in an attempt to hide in a wooded area north of the Basha’s shopping center.

K-9 units from the task force, Sheriff’s Office and the members of the Arizona Department of Public Safety began an area search to locate the subject. They were able to locate the second subject, who was also taken into custody.

During a search of the vehicle, approximately 50,000 narcotic pills laced with Fentanyl were found hidden in a suitcase. The pills seized have a street value of 1.25 million.

Miguel Angel Lopez Valenzuela, 36, of Phoenix, was arrested for transportation of a narcotic drug for sale, possession of a narcotic drug for sale, possession of a narcotic drug, possession of drug paraphernalia and unlawful flight from law enforcement.

Jesus Acosta, 25, of Phoenix, was arrested for transportation of a narcotic drug for sale, possession of a narcotic drug for sale, possession of a narcotic drug, possession of drug paraphernalia and unlawful flight from law enforcement. Valenzuela and Acosta were booked into the Gila County Jail in Payson.

The second seizure came at 8:32 p.m. when the Gila County Drug, Gang, and Violent Crimes Task Force attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a vehicle at 910 S. Beeline Highway in Payson. A Task Force K-9 was deployed for a drug sniff of the vehicle after indicators of criminal activity were observed, and 100,000 narcotic pills laced with Fentanyl, with a street value of 2.5 million, were found.

As a result of the investigation Mauricio Compos Ruiz, 25, of Phoenix, was charged with transportation of a narcotic drug for sale, two counts of possession of a narcotic drug for sale, possession of a narcotic drug and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was booked into the Gila County Jail in Payson.

The Sheriff’s Office is committed to continuing an aggressive stance on the drug problems that impact our communities and to the strong working relationships with our state and municipal partnerships in combating its drug problems.

Sheriff Adam Shepherd thanked the Arizona Department of Public Safety and the Payson Police Department for their efforts in this investigation. Sheriff Shepherd also thanked the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission for their continued funding of the Gila County Drug, Gang, and Violent Crimes Task Force, which makes operations such as this possible.

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