K9 find 185 pounds of drugs during traffic stop on US 93

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PRESCOTT - The following is a release from the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office:

On February 21, 2009, at approximately 9:30 A.M., a Yavapai County Sheriff's Office K9 deputy stopped a grey Chevrolet pick-up with Utah plates on US 93 near milepost 181. The vehicle was observed impeding the normal traffic flow traveling well below the speed limit. The driver was identified as 21-year-old Utah resident Enrique Gonzales, who was also listed as the vehicle's registered owner. While speaking with Gonzales, the deputy noticed a large external gas tank bolted to the front of the truck bed. The tank appeared home made and had a tool box attached to it. Due to suspicions about the tank, the deputy asked and received consent from Gonzales to search the vehicle. While checking the tank, the deputy discovered electrical wiring from the tank was not attached. Additionally, there was no working gas pump connected, even though a new pump was found in the tool box.

The K9 deputy then deployed his certified narcotics dog, " Tjando," for an exterior vehicle sniff. When the K9 came into proximity of the tank, he alerted by scratching at both corners of the tank. During the K9 search, an assisting deputy determined Gonzales was under the influence of a narcotic and arrested him for D.U.I.

Gonzales' truck was transported to a tow yard in Yarnell for further examination. After a small amount of diesel fuel was drained from the external tank, it was unbolted and removed from the bed. When the bottom of the tank was exposed, deputies saw several patches of fresh auto body putty. Pulling some of the putty away revealed a cover plate attached to a secondary compartment. With the cover plate removed, deputies found 8 bales of processed and packaged marijuana inside. The total weight of these bales was approximately 185 pounds.

When Gonzales was told about the contraband, he claimed purchasing the truck last year with the external tank attached and had no knowledge of the drugs found inside.

Gonzales was additionally charged with Transportation for Sales of Marijuana along with Driving Under the Influence of a Narcotic. He was booked at the Prescott Detention Center and is currently being held on a $100,000 bond.