The discovery of two "full-blown" methamphetamine laboratories on the Tonto-Apache Reservation Friday led to the arrest of three non-Native American suspects.
Armed with search warrants for two separate addresses on the reservation, Payson Police Department officers arrested Timothy Scott Zimmer, 39, of Payson, and Harvey John James, 39, of Star Valley. Both men are charged with possession of chemicals and equipment to manufacture dangerous drugs, possession of dangerous drugs, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
James and Zimmer remain in custody in lieu of $10,000 bonds each.
Also arrested was Randall Sanders, 29, of Payson, who was charged with possession of equipment to manufacture dangerous drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia, and misconduct involving weapons. Sanders has since been released from custody.
"We did find full-blown meth labs at both locations," Lt. Don Engler of the Payson Police Department said. "We were assisted by the Gila County Narcotics Task Force and the Department of Public Safety with the lab components."
"We are working with the U.S. Attorney's Office, which is looking at the possibility of prosecuting this case in federal court," Engler said.
Such cases, wherein non-Native Americans are charged with performing criminal activity on a reservation, can present "unusual jurisdictional issues," Payson Police Chief Gordon Gartner said. That issue must be resolved, he said, before any court dates can be set.