Woman Injured In Police Search


A Payson woman was injured by a percussion grenade as Payson Police Department officers served a search warrant on a Frontier Street apartment Friday evening.

According to the Lt. Don Engler, members of the department's Special Response Team arrived at the scene, knocked on the door and announced they had a search warrant shortly after 8:30 p.m.

"The people who were inside failed to open the door," Engler said, "so we forced the door open, and a distraction device was used upon entry."

After the detonation, "we went ahead and secured four subjects, conducted a search of the residence, located paraphernalia associated with dangerous drugs, and ended up arresting a male subject," Engler said.

Arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia was Jodell Ashford, 27, a resident of the apartment and one of two suspects named on the search warrant. He was booked into Gila County Jail and released on his own recognizance Saturday morning.

When the percussion grenade was detonated, 24-year-old Karen Samarripas, the other suspect named on the warrant, received "some burns to her feet," Engler said.

A report filed by Payson Fire Department paramedics described the injury as "minor abrasions with black powder residue on the right ankle." Samarripas was taken to Payson Regional Medical Center, where she was treated and released.

Star Valley bust

In an unrelated Friday evening incident, another percussion grenade was used by Payson police officers in the 9 p.m. delivery of a search warrant to a Star Valley motel room.

"We found enough marijuana at that location to charge two individuals with possession for sale," Engler said. "We had been investigating them for about three to four weeks, and had information that they were selling drugs from that motel room."

Arrested and booked into Gila County Jail were Michael Butler, 50, and Mary Butler, 45. Both were charged with possession of marijuana for sale and possession of drug paraphernalia, and both were released on their own recognizance Saturday morning.

Formal complaints have not yet been filed by the county attorney's office in either case.

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