Six California men arrested, 19 pounds of marijuana seized
ASH FORK - Dogged work by a Sheriff's Office drug sniffer led to the arrest of six California men Wednesday.
Three young men from Chico, California, accused of transporting 19 pounds of marijuana are in the Camp Verde Jail. Three others from California in another car said to be associated with the Chico men are also in custody.
According to Sheriff's Office spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn, "deputies arrested Kiefer Ryan Carter, 19, Christopher Wayne Abey, 18, and Ryan Scott Rash, 27, on numerous felony charges after deputies located nearly 19 pounds of marijuana in their vehicle following a traffic stop. All suspects are from the Chico, California area."
The three were in a Mitsubishi Lancer on Interstate 40 near Ash Fork when the vehicle was stopped for a traffic violation.
"The driver, Kiefer Carter, was found to have a suspended license," D'Evelyn said. "All three individuals appeared very nervous and provided contradictory information regarding travel plans and in some cases could not fully identify who they were travelling with."
Suspecting drugs were in the car, the deputy asked if he could search the vehicle. After the request was denied, the deputy had his K9 sniff the vehicle. "The K9 alerted on the rear passenger side indicating the odor of drugs," D'Evelyn said.
"When the deputy approached Rash following the K9 alert, Rash suddenly took off north across all four lanes of I-40 and into the desert."
The deputy placed the other two in his patrol vehicle, then did a search of the Mitsubishi - finding marijuana hidden in two speaker boxes in the trunk.
Rash, who D'Evelyn said had criminal charges pending in California, was found about four hours later "hiding in construction equipment parked in a gravel pit area north of Ash Fork."
The three were booked on marijuana possession charges. Each of the Chico residents is being held on $25,000 bond.
All three remain in custody on a $25,000 bond.
Three other men in a Honda Civic stopped nearby were "confirmed to have an association with the suspects in the Mitsubishi."
Richard Lee, 33, David Brawley, 32, and Charles Robertson, 30, all from California, were arrested and booked on numerous drug charges. They also are in custody on $25,000 bond.