YCSO arrests 2, seizes 72 lbs of drugs

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Oscar Baez-Esparza (left) and Alejandro Baez-Esparza By Christina O'Haver Oscar Baez-Esparza (left) and Alejandro Baez-Esparza By Christina O'Haver

YAVAPAI COUNTY, Ariz. -- The Yavapai County Sheriff's Office seized more than 72 pounds of illegal drugs and arrested the two alleged smugglers Sunday.

About 9:15 a.m., a sheriff's deputy conducted a traffic stop on a 2007 Cadillac sedan traveling north on the I-17, near the General Cook Trail off-ramp.

According to the Sheriff's Office, the deputy stopped the car, which had Oklahoma plates, for an equipment violation and traveling 20 mph below the posted speed limit of 65 mph.

After the driver stopped the vehicle, he and his passenger exited and walked toward the deputy in an apparent attempt to disassociate themselves from the vehicle, the Sheriff's Office said.

The deputy detained Oscar Baez-Esparza, 34, and Alejandro Baez-Esparza, 22, both of Texas.

Oscar Baez-Esparza, the driver, reportedly told the deputy he and his cousin were heading to Texas but did not provide clear information regarding the origin of their trip and why they were in the Phoenix area, the Sheriff's Office said.

Oscar Baez-Esparza allegedly denied carrying any contraband and consented to the deputy's requested search.

The deputy first checked the contents of a plastic bag he noticed in the passenger floorboard during a cursory viewing of the Cadillac's interior. The bag reportedly contained 7 pounds of meth wrapped in six bundles.

The deputy also searched the trunk, which reportedly contained more than 65 pounds of marijuana. The Sheriff's Office said the marijuana had been compressed into nearly 20 packages, apparently for distribution.

The alleged smugglers were arrested on several charges including transportation of meth and possession of marijuana for sale. They were booked into Camp Verde Detention Center without bond.

The Cadillac was seized pending forfeiture proceedings.