On October 29, 2018, about 6:30 AM, YCSO K9 deputies were monitoring traffic along east I40 in the Ash Fork area when one of the units stopped a white 2000 Ford F-150 for an equipment violation. While speaking with the driver, 31-year-old Carlos Fabricio Vileriano from California, the deputy noticed a pill bottle on the passenger seat that contained marijuana. It was eventually determined Carlos was driving on a suspended license. Carlos remained unusually nervous while speaking with the deputy and seemed unsure about his travel itinerary except to indicate the New Mexico area was his destination. The bed of the vehicle contained several exposed tanks including large propane and acetylene tanks.
Based on the training and experience of the lead K9 deputy, it appeared Carlos was being deceptive due to knowledge he was transporting drugs/contraband.
Carlos gave the deputies consent to search the truck although not necessary based on the marijuana seen in the vehicle during the initial contact. Inside a plastic box on the passenger seat, deputies found nearly 5 pounds of packaged marijuana. During an examination of the tanks stored in the bed of the truck, several appeared to have been tampered with. As a result, the truck was removed from the highway to a safe inspection area away from high speed traffic conditions.
The black acetylene tank had lightweight car body filler, aka “Bondo” brand, on the bottom of the tank. There was no obvious point of entry, but the tank had been freshly painted and was unusually heavy. When the valve was opened, there was no pressure or evidence of gas. Deputies surmised the tank may have a hidden compartment.
The white propane tank was examined and several indications that the tank had been tampered with were noticed. This included non-matching aftermarket welds on the tank bottom. When the valve was opened, an odor of marijuana was detected.
Deputies also removed a valve on a black air compressor tank taken out of the truck and could see plastic bags inside containing marijuana.
Unable to access the contents of these tanks otherwise, deputies borrowed an extraction saw from local fire personnel and cut each tank open in areas where there was an obvious pre-determined access point. Inside the white tank, deputies found about 20 pounds of marijuana in various plastic bags which appeared to have been placed through an opening cut into the tank and then welded shut before transportation. Cutting open the black tank revealed a large amount of body filler only. When the black air compressor tank was cut open, deputies found more than 70 pounds of marijuana inside.
More than 96 pounds of marijuana was seized.
Further search of the truck interior revealed a small quantity of methamphetamine.
Carlos admitted to smoking meth before starting his trip and only to knowledge of the marijuana found inside the truck.
Carlos was arrested and booked into the Camp Verde Detention Center on charges including Transportation of Marijuana for Sale, Possession of Marijuana for Sale, Possession/Use of Marijuana, Possession/Use of Dangerous Drugs (Methamphetamine) and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia x 2. He remains in-custody on a $45,000 bond.
Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260
or the YCSO website: www.ycsoaz.gov