On February 12, 2019, around 1:30 AM, 20-year-old Jhampier Mendoza Torez was arrested after being contacted as the driver during a traffic stop on I-17 NB near MM 276 in Cordes Lakes. He is being charged with Transportation of Dangerous Drugs (18 pounds of crystal meth), Possession of Dangerous Drugs for Sales, Possession of Dangerous Drugs, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He remains in-custody on a $500,000 cash bond.
Background – At the indicated time and date, a YCSO K9 deputy stopped a black 2014 Camaro with New Mexico plates for moving and equipment violations. The driver and only occupant, Torez, provided a license out of Mexico. Torez remained unusually nervous during the initial interaction with the K9 deputy and contradicted himself discussing his travel itinerary other than noting he was coming from Phoenix. Based on the K9 Deputy’s training and experience he believed Torez was concealing contraband, likely drugs, and asked for permission to search the vehicle. Torez declined. As a result, the deputy’s partner deployed his certified K9, ‘Haddie,’ for an exterior sniff of the Camaro. ‘Haddie’ gave a positive alert to the odor of drugs coming from the vehicle.
Based on the alert, deputies searched the vehicle for the source of the odor and noticed tooling marks on the rear driver seat panel indicating the panel had been removed previously. Similar marks were found on the passenger seat panel which, when removed and the foam inserts pulled away, reveled packages of what appeared to be methamphetamine. A total of 18 plastic food saver bags were removed, each weighing a pound. Later exam confirmed the contents were high grade meth.
During an interview with Torez, he admitted he was being paid to transport meth. He also acknowledged prior smuggling activity and using the money to support his family.
Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260 or the YCSO website: www.ycsoaz.gov