Payson traffic stop leads to $3 million drug seizure
An early morning traffic stop in Payson last week led to the seizure of approximately $3 million worth of drugs, and two arrests, by the Gila County Sheriff’s Office.
Around 3:20 a.m. on February 23, deputies conducted the stop on a black Jeep Grand Cherokee at Main Street and Highway 87. Upon contacting the driver, according to a GCSO press release, they observed indications of criminal behavior and conducted a search. Their search, the release stated, located approximately 35 pounds of blue pills suspected of being fentanyl, a pound of white powder suspected of being cocaine and a small amount of a crystalline substance suspected of being methamphetamine, as well as a firearm.
Two men identified as Juan Jose Haro Aranda, 23, and Carlos Higuera Rivera, 27, were arrested and booked into the Gila County Jail.
Both men were booked for possession of a narcotic drug, possession of a narcotic drug for sale, transportation of a narcotic drug, possession of dangerous drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia; in addition, Rivera was booked for possessing a firearm in commission of a drug offense.
“The two deputies who conducted this traffic stop did a phenomenal job; they used their experience and training to identify criminal indicators that led to getting these drugs off the streets and out of our community,” Gila County Sheriff J. Adam Shepherd said in the press release. Shepherd also thanked the Gila County Drug, Gang and Violent Crimes Task Force, Payson Police Department and Tonto Apache Police for their assistance with the traffic stop.
“The assistance from all our local partners helped seize approximately $3 million worth of illicit drugs this morning,” he said.