On May 21, 2017, a YCSO K9 deputy stopped a 2015 white GMC Sierra for a moving violation on north I17 in the Camp Verde area. The driver was identified as 28-year-old Daniel Franco from Texas. During contact with Franco, the deputy noted he acted unusually nervous and seemed confused about his travel plans. The deputy soon determined Franco was an unlicensed driver. During a consent search of the truck’s interior, the deputy located a THC E-cigarette cartridge emitting a strong odor of marijuana.
Based on the contact with Franco to this point, the deputy suspected Franco may be concealing additional contraband within the truck and elected to deploy his certified K9 partner, Vader. During a walk around outside the vehicle, Vader displayed alert signals near the space between the truck bed and cab. As the deputies continued their search for the source of the odor, they noticed a stock vehicle tire iron on top of the back seat and other tire changing components on the floorboard. Since there was no evidence a tire had been recently changed, this seemed suspicious. The deputy looked at the spare tire under the truck, saw it was flat, and found indications of recent activity in this area – common for drug smuggling.
After removing the spare tire which required a key in Franco’s possession, deputies located a void under the bed of the truck that partially exposed apparent packages of drugs. Further investigation required moving the car off the highway for the safety of personnel and closer examination. Once this was done, deputies were eventually able to remove 3 bundled packages, all wrapped in tape and multiple layers of plastic. The contents of the bundles included 7 one pound packages of methamphetamine and a package containing approximately ¾’s of a pound of cocaine.
Franco denied any knowledge of the drug load. He was booked at the Camp Verde Detention Center on charges including Transport/Sell Dangerous Drug/Narcotic and Possession of a Narcotic Drug. He remains in-custody on a $10,000 bond.
Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260 or the YCSO website: www.ycsoaz.gov