On July 31, 2013, just before 7 AM, a Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office K9 deputy stopped a green Honda Accord travelling east on I 40 after observing several moving violations. The vehicle contained 2 adult males identified as 31-year-old Jose Barraza and 34-year-old Alfredo Lopez-Pantoja, both from Livingston, California. The driver, Barraza, provided a Mexican identification card but was otherwise unlicensed. While conversing with the occupants regarding the traffic violations, the deputy noticed numerous signs of deception while both occupants appeared more nervous than the innocent motoring public. Additionally, the occupants were unable to answer basic questions that a group of passengers sharing a destination would commonly know. Both did acknowledge they were heading east for job opportunities.
Based on the deputy’s suspicions these occupants were possibly transporting some form of contraband, he asked and received permission from Barraza to conduct a search. While checking inside the Honda’s trunk, the deputy pulled back a liner exposing a wrapped package stowed against the trunk wall. Further inspection revealed 2 more packages and all 3 were found to contain methamphetamine with a total weight of 3.2 pounds.
Barraza later admitted he was transporting the load of methamphetamine to Arkansas with assistance from Pantoja.
Both suspects were booked at the Camp Verde Detention on charges including Transportation of Dangerous Drugs for Sale, Possession of Dangerous Drugs for Sale, and Possession of Dangerous Drugs. Each remains in-custody on a $15,000 bond and both have immigration holds. The Honda was impounded pending forfeiture proceedings.
Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260 or the YCSO website: www.ycsoaz.gov