The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office seized 40 pounds of methamphetamine during a traffic stop north of Phoenix earlier this month, resulting in the arrest of a male Mexican national. The initial disclosure was delayed by a week due to a follow-up investigation.
The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office announced the May 16 arrest of 48-year-old Hilario Perez after he was contacted during a traffic stop on Interstate 17 in Cordes Junction. Perez, who was reportedly driving a white Honda Accord with an Oklahoma license plate, was stopped for multiple moving violations, according to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office. Cordes Junction is located roughly 75 miles north of Phoenix.
Upon being contacted, the deputy noticed Perez appeared nervous and refused to make eye contact. Perez reportedly produced a Mexican identification card but did not possess a valid driver’s license. A records check returned a hit for a suspended Arizona driver’s license. Perez’s behavior led the deputy to suspect drugs were being transported and requested the assistance of a Spanish-speaking officer from the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Consent to search the vehicle was reportedly granted and the deputy later noted the rear passenger door panel was slightly ajar. They observed numerous packages containing methamphetamine wrapped in plastic sheets. Perez was placed under arrest while the vehicle was transported to a secure evidence facility.
Deputies later removed 25, one-pound packages of methamphetamine from the rear passenger door and 15 one-pound packages concealed behind the rear driver’s side door panel, according to officials. Perez denied any knowledge of the illegal cargo, though he admitted he previously transported drugs, say police. He further reportedly claimed he was in Phoenix to sell the vehicle but decided to return to Oklahoma after a deal collapsed.
Perez was booked into the Camp Verde Detention Center for transportation of methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine for sale charges. Perez’s bond was set at $750,000. The sheriff’s office also placed immigration detainer on the Mexican national.
Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce has worked in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year assignment in Monterrey, Mexico, working out of the Consulate for the United States Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program, where he was the Regional Program Manager for Northeast Mexico (Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas.)