SAFFORD — At around 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1, Safford Police were called to Walmart, where a man was reportedly seen hiding a large knife under his shirt. Officers handcuffed the man, identified as Mark Gilbert, and recovered the knife. Gilbert was cited for shoplifting and released. The police report was forwarded to the Graham County Attorney.
A woman with Gilbert, identified in police reports as Twila Hunter, 39, was arrested on a felony warrant issued by the U.S. Marshal’s Office in Tucson. She was booked into the Graham County Jail, where her name was recorded on a booking roster as Twila Goseyun.
That evening around 7 p.m., a patrolling officer spotted a wanted man named Angel Montano walking along Highway 70 near the Budget Inn. Montano started to run when the officer stopped, and entered a room at the motel. After additional officers arrived, they obtained a room key and made entry. Montano, reportedly hiding in the restroom, was ordered out at gunpoint. He was booked into jail without incident.
On Friday, Aug. 2, a woman was arrested for aggravated driving under the influence. Meth and drug paraphernalia were reportedly found in her car, and a passenger who allegedly admitted owning the items faces charges as well.
The driver, Nicole Bencomo, was pulled over for riding on the center line and having large items hanging from her mirror. Finding out Bencomo’s license was suspended, a Safford officer wrote a citation. A second officer spotted a bottle of meth and drug paraphernalia in the car. The latter included 16 syringes, a burnt metal spoon and a metal smoking device. In addition to the 1.6 grams of meth, police also discovered a tin can of marijuana in the car.
Bencomo’s passenger, Amy Payne, reportedly admitted owning those items. She initially said Bencomo did not know about the meth. Later, however, both allegedly admitted planning to use it later. Bencomo reportedly admitted using meth in the past 24 hours and failed field sobriety tests. The original citation was voided, and she was arrested for aggravated DUI.
Payne was released at the scene, and Bencomo was released following a blood draw at Mount Graham Regional Center. Pending its results, the police report will be forwarded to the Graham County Attorney’s Office for the aggravated DUI. Police will also request charges of dangerous drug possession, marijuana possession and drug paraphernalia possession against Payne.
Just after noon Tuesday, Aug. 6, a Safford officer looked into a suspicious call in the Safford Middle School area. A resident reported that a Hispanic male in a gray Nissan car had asked her 12-year-old son if he needed a ride. After the boy said he did not, the subject reportedly followed him to his home. There was no further information in the police report.