SAFFORD — Three people face an array of charges, including drug possession, after an Oct. 2 traffic stop by Safford Police.
That afternoon, an officer patrolling 1st Avenue observed a black Toyota coupe doing around 35 mph in a 45 mph zone. A license plate check returned to a Chevrolet sedan. Suspecting the plate might be fictitious, the officer pulled the car over. According to his report, two of the three occupants were making erratic movements.
The driver, identified as Robert Mendoza, reportedly said his license was suspended and the license plates did not belong to the car. A check of the car’s VIN returned to a 2000 Toyota coupe owned by Mendoza, which police learned was mandatory insurance suspended. Mendoza was placed under arrest for the fictitious plate, and a syringe cap was found in his possession. Mendoza allegedly said he had disposed of the needle.
Prior to his arrest, Mendoza reportedly handed over a small pocket knife and said there was a machete next to his front passenger, identified as Michael Carr.
The officer reportedly found a baggie containing heroin on Mendoza’s rear passenger, identified as Amanda Cruz, and arrested Cruz as well. Another baggie containing methamphetamine was found in the car, along with the machete. A backpack in the vehicle yielded a large knife and two syringes containing brown liquid. The liquid, which Carr reportedly said was heroin, was sent to the DPS Lab for analysis.
According to the police report, Carr initially denied owning the backpack but later confessed it was his, saying he had lied because he was prohibited from possessing weapons. Charges were forwarded against Carr for possession of a dangerous drug, possession of a narcotic drug, possession of drug paraphernalia and weapons misconduct. Cruz faces charges of possession of a narcotic drug and drug paraphernalia. Cruz and Carr were released from the scene.
Mendoza allegedly admitted owning the machete and being a convicted felon. He was placed under arrest for possession of dangerous drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, weapons misconduct and the fictitious license plate. After Mendoza failed field sobriety tests, an aggravated DUI charge was added. A urine sample was collected from Mendoza at the Safford Police Station and sent to the DPS Lab. Mendoza was then released.