40 pounds of meth found in vehicle’s door panels on I-17
Driver only had Mexican ID; placed on immigration hold
During a traffic stop on May 16, a Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO) deputy found 40 pounds of methamphetamine hidden in a vehicle’s door panels.
Around 7:45 p.m. that day, the deputy spotted a white Honda Accord with Oklahoma plates commit several moving violations on north Interstate 17 in Cordes Junction.
The driver, 48-year-old Hilario Perez, did not have a driver’s license and instead only supplied a Mexican ID card, YCSO reported. During the interaction with the deputy, Perez was shaking and sweating and would not make eye contact, the deputy reported. A records check revealed Perez had a suspended license out of Arizona. As the discussion continued, the deputy, based on his training and experience, believed Perez was likely involved in the transportation of contraband/drugs, YCSO said. An officer from the Arizona Department of Public Safety arrived to assist and provide Spanish translation. When asked if the deputy could search his vehicle, Perez consented.
The deputy quickly noticed that the rear passenger door panel was ajar, so he wedged it open. Inside were numerous packages wrapped in plastic sheets that appeared to contain methamphetamine, YCSO reported. A YCSO K9 deputy came to the scene, confirmed that drugs were present, and Perez was arrested.
The vehicle was transported to a secure evidence facility where it could be safely processed. Once there, deputies removed 25 one pound packages of methamphetamine from the rear passenger door panel and located an additional 15 one pound packages of methamphetamine behind the rear driver’s side door panel, YCSO said.
During a follow-up interview, Perez denied knowing there was methamphetamine stored in the doors of the vehicle even after admitting he had transported drugs in the past, YCSO reported. Perez claimed he was in Phoenix to sell the Honda, but the potential buyer declined, so he planned on returning to Oklahoma.
Perez was booked into the Yavapai County jail in Camp Verde on charges including transportation of methamphetamine, sales of methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine. He remains in custody on a $750,000 bond and has also been placed on a 287(g) immigration hold.