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‘Buckle Up’ campaign leads to arrests in Prescott, recovery of stolen firearms

Michael Shane Cernak, Zachary Steven Foster, Nicholas Lee Lamb and Raphael Antonio Villa were arrested on multiple charges Sunday, May 26, 2019, during a "Buckle-Up Campaign" stop in Prescott. (Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office/Courtesy)

Michael Shane Cernak, Zachary Steven Foster, Nicholas Lee Lamb and Raphael Antonio Villa were arrested on multiple charges Sunday, May 26, 2019, during a "Buckle-Up Campaign" stop in Prescott. (Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office/Courtesy)

While patrolling for the ongoing Buckle Up Arizona campaign, a Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO) deputy arrested four men in Prescott for drug and firearm-related charges on Sunday, May 26.

Around 1 p.m. that day, the deputy noticed the driver of a gold Nissan pickup truck travelling west on Highway 69 near Frontier Village was not wearing a seatbelt, YCSO reported. The deputy also noticed the front seat passenger pass what appeared to be a marijuana cigarette to the driver.

As the deputy monitored the vehicle’s movement, the driver completed a sudden unsafe lane change without signaling, causing another vehicle to brake and avoid a collision, YCSO reported.

The vehicle was eventually stopped for the moving violation in the Yavapai College parking lot. While speaking to the driver, 19-year-old Zachary Foster from Phoenix, the deputy could clearly smell marijuana coming from inside the vehicle, YCSO reported. Foster and the front seat passenger, 23-year-old Alexander Hugo from Phoenix, admitted passing a marijuana cigarette. A rear seat passenger, 20-year-old Michael Cernak from Phoenix, admitted he ate the remains of the cigarette. No one in the vehicle possessed a medical marijuana card, YCSO reported.

Prior to searching the vehicle for contraband, 21-year old Nicholas Lamb and 23-year-old Raphael Villa admitted they each had a firearm in the vehicle. Cernak later admitted one of the firearms was his and kept it in a backpack. The vehicle search revealed a Springfield 40 caliber handgun, about two grams of THC wax and associated marijuana paraphernalia.

A check of the serial number on the Springfield handgun indicated it had been reported stolen in the Phoenix area in 2016, YCSO reported. Lamb admitted ownership of the stolen firearm. Another handgun was found in a backpack belonging to Villa and the serial number confirmed he was the legal possessor. But the deputy also found six grams of wax THC and a loaded Glock magazine in the backpack. Two grams of wax THC belonging to Foster was found in a center console as well.

As the search continued, the deputy found another handgun, a 45 caliber Glock, under the driver’s seat, YCSO reported. A records check indicated it was stolen out of Phoenix in 2017. Cernak acknowledged ownership of the Glock.

Lamb was arrested and booked into the Yavapai County jail on charges of possession of a stolen firearm, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a firearm during a drug offense. He has been released on promise to appear.

Cernak was arrested and booked into the Yavapai County jail on charges of tampering with evidence (swallow marijuana cigarette), possession of a stolen firearm, possession of a firearm during drug offense and weapons misconduct. He has been released on a promise to appear.

Villa was arrested and booked into the Yavapai County jail in Camp Verde on charges of possession of a narcotic wax (6 grams of wax thc) and possession of a firearm during a drug offense. He has been released on a promise to appear.

Foster, the driver, was arrested and booked into the Yavapai County jail in Camp Verde on charges of possession of a narcotic wax (2 grams of wax thx), possession of marijuana, possession of paraphernalia x2. He has been released on a promise to appear.

Hugo was cited and released on a charge of possession of marijuana.

Information provided by Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.

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