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Sun, Aug. 18

Social media photo leads deputies to shut down of alleged drug lab in Cottonwood

Deputies arrested, from left, Gregory Jay, 54, Justin Jay, 26, and Monica Johnson, 40.
Courtesy photos/YCSO

Deputies arrested, from left, Gregory Jay, 54, Justin Jay, 26, and Monica Johnson, 40.

COTTONWOOD – Deputies following up on a reported theft found a drug lab in a suspect’s home, arrested three adults, and took a 3-year-old child into protective custody, Yavapai County Sheriff’s spokesman Dwight D’Evelyn said.

The call that set the arrest in motion was from a victim who had been burglarized, D’Evelyn said. In October, a man who had been gone from his home in the 11000 block of Adams Road in Cornville for several weeks reported that “numerous custom wood products … including hand-cut tables, headboards, and wood slabs valued at several thousand dollars” were missing, along with power tools.

The victim supplied deputies with a tip: he said he’d seen one of the stolen items on a former business associate’s social media page.

The next day, deputies met with Gregory Jay, 54, in the 4500 block of Western Drive. He denied being involved in the burglary and wouldn’t comment on the social media photo.

The investigation continued into December, when the victim supplied a new photo of Jay with a stolen item.

After further follow-up, YCSO personnel obtained a search warrant for a business in the 2500 block of Union Drive, where they believed jay was living in a converted school bus.

During the search, investigators found stolen property, D’Evelyn said.

They also located large amounts of drug paraphernalia, leading them to believe there was an oil-based form of marijuana being made on the property.

They discovered butane, used to process marijuana into an oil-based form. “This is a very dangerous procedure because any flame in the area could quickly ignite the butane,” D’Evelyn said, adding that all of the above were within reach of the child.

Deputies arrested Gregory Jay, Justin Jay, 26, and Monica Johnson, 40. She had a 3-year-old daughter with her; the girl was turned over to the Department of Child Safety.

Gregory faces drug charges as well as a charge of child abuse. He has bonded out of the Camp Verde jail.

Justin was charged with theft. He was released on a promise to appear.

Johnson is facing with several drug charges and a count of child abuse. She was released on a promise to appear.

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