Drug-dealing operation shut down near Cottonwood

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

During a two day period last week, detectives from the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office, Special Crimes Unit (SCU), arrested five suspects linked to a drug dealing operation in Black Canyon City and Cottonwood.

On August 6, 2008, detectives arrested Black Canyon City residents Michael Nelson, age 43, James Troutt, age 32, and Jennifer Lane, age 22, for various charges including Possession of Dangerous Drugs for Sale and Possession of Marijuana for Sale. On August 7, 2008, detectives arrested Cottonwood resident John Thompson, age 27, and Clarkdale resident Ronald Drozd, age 57, for numerous charges including Possession and Transportation of Drugs for Sale.

Over the past several weeks, SCU detectives received tips from Yavapai Silent Witness and other sources regarding a drug sales operation in Black Canyon City. The specific location involved a travel trailer inside the trailer park behind the Javelina Cantina in the 34000 block of Old Black Canyon Highway. During a surveillance of the area, detectives witnessed several drug transactions involving Nelson, Troutt and Lane from the trailer. Drug sales also occurred at various locations along Old Black Canyon Highway and involved a red Ford Mustang registered to Troutt. On the evening of August 6th, detectives detained the three suspects regarding this activity and existing arrest warrants belonging to Troutt and Lane. A narcotic K9 unit was called to the scene and alerted on the Mustang and trailer. A quantity of cocaine was found in the center console of the Mustang which has current street value of nearly $5000 dollars.

A search warrant was obtained for the trailer and the search reveled nearly 50 grams of cocaine, various pills, used and new syringes, bongs (marked with the owner's names), scales, and other paraphernalia indicating drug use and sales. Detectives found a handwritten note entitled "People OK to sell to" listing at least 10 customers "qualified" to purchase drugs. The list was occasionally placed outside the trailer to alert unqualified customers they were not welcome. A post script on the list did say, ". If you think your name is mistakenly not on the list, feel free to knock and figure it out."

During the investigation, detectives learned Drozd owned the Black Canyon City trailer, used it as a drop house for his drug operation, and was expecting to return home from Phoenix with a shipment of methamphetamine. On August 7, 2008, SCU detectives located Drozd and Thompson driving a white Ford Explorer on Highway 260 in Cottonwood. Drozd, who had recently bonded out on drug charges, was arrested in possession of drug paraphernalia, including numerous "bindle" baggies, a syringe, stun gun, and 35 grams of meth. The packaged meth was originally secreted in Drozd's buttocks to avoid detection, but later found by a YCSO transportation deputy after Drozd dumped the drugs in the detention vehicle before entering the jail. Drozd was booked on 7 felony drug charges involving possession, use, sale and transportation of dangerous drugs.

The driver of the Ford Explorer, Thompson, was booked on 5 felony drug counts for his involvement in the operation.

SCU detectives noted that Yavapai Silent Witness tips were critical to their successful work in shutting down this drug operation and encourage anyone with similar information to call Silent Witness.