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DPS seizes 33.5 pounds of meth valued at over $500,000

Drugs seized in two days during two unrelated traffic stops by patrol officers

Tuesday, February 2, 2010 -

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Between Wednesday, January 27 and Thursday, January 28, 2010, during two unrelated traffic stops, officers with the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) seized approximately 33.5 pounds of crystal methamphetamine valued at $536,000 wholesale. Once broken down for street distribution, the drugs sell for about $100 per gram or $45,400 a pound which makes the potential street value of the drugs over $1.5 million dollars. The drivers of both vehicles were arrested and booked on felony drug possession and transportation charges.

On Wednesday, January 27, 2010, at about 11:55 a.m., a DPS Canine Officer stopped a white Dodge Dakota pick-up truck for an equipment violation. The pick-up was traveling west on I-10 near Red Rock, north of Tucson. Following consented search and a canine alert, the DPS officer located 18.5 pounds of methamphetamine in the firewall of the truck. The driver, Abel Ortega-Alvarez, 33, of Nogales, Sonora Mex., was arrested and booked into the Pima County Jail on the felony charges of transportation of dangerous drugs for sale. Ortega was traveling from Nogales, Mexico to Phoenix.

On Thursday, January 28, 2010, at about 5:20 p.m., a DPS Officer stopped a passenger vehicle traveling northbound on I-17 just south of Camp Verde. At the conclusion of the traffic stop, the officer requested consent to search the vehicle. Permission was granted and the officer located 15 pounds of methamphetamine in a false floor of the vehicle. The driver, identified as Aurelio Valverde Ramirez, 24, of Vista Calif., was arrested and booked into the Yavapai County Jail on the felony charges of transportation of dangerous drugs for sale and possession of drug paraphernalia. The vehicle was seized along with $904.00 in U.S. Currency. Further investigation revealed that the methamphetamine was destined for Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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The Arizona Department of Public Safety is a state-level law enforcement agency whose mission is to protect human life and property by enforcing state laws, deterring criminal activity and providing vital support to the State of Arizona and its citizens.