PHOENIX (3TV/CBS5) -- A trooper's traffic stop has led to the largest meth seizure in the history of the Arizona Department of Public Safety. (DPS)
On Monday afternoon, DPS held a news conference to announce the seizure of 362 pounds of meth. DPS Director Col. Frank Milstead said that on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, a DPS trooper stopped a vehicle on Interstate 15 just south of Littlefield, which is located in far northwestern Arizona in Mohave County.
Milstead said troopers found cause to search the vehicle. That search, which utilized a drug-sniffing K-9, revealed 362 pounds of methamphetamine, which has an estimated street value of $4.1 million.
"Arizona is under attack every day from the cartels," said Milstead. "Cartels continue to try to push as much of their dope and narcotics as they can." Milstead says the drugs were likely headed to Chicago by way of Arizona.
"It [meth] comes by way of air, it comes by underground tunnels, it comes in passenger cars; any way you can think about smuggling it," Milstead said.
The driver and passenger of the car were identified as 52-year-old Julie Jeannie Mason of Burlington, Iowa and her husband, 38-year-old Maurius Montez Mason of Peoria, Illinois. The pair was arrested for possession of a dangerous drug and transportation of a dangerous drug. They were booked into jail in Mesquite, Nevada.
DPS said that this was not the only big drug bust made last Friday. Milstead said that earlier the same day, a trooper working in the Casa Grande area stopped a vehicle on Interstate 10 near McCartney Rd. During a search of the vehicle, the trooper located 88 pounds of meth, which had an estimated street value of $998,000.
The driver and passenger in that case were also taken into custody. DPS says 26-year-old Roxana Juarez and 22-year-old Jesus Valenzuela of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, were arrested for possession of a dangerous drug. The suspects were booked into the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office Jail in Florence.