A routine traffic stop for speeding led to the arrest of a Payson man, who was found with about $1,000 of illegal drugs.
At about 7 p.m., April 7, Gila County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Craig Smith stopped a 1981 silver Corvette for speeding on south Highway 87 by the Mazatzal Casino.
Upon investigating, the driver gave consent for the search of his vehicle. Craig Smith called in K-9 Officer Don Newman and his drug-sniffing dog, Rex.
"The dog was allowed to circle the vehicle and alerted its handler to possible illegal substances under the front of the hood, behind the grill," Smith said.
Based on the alert, a hand search of the vehicle was conducted, he said.
They discovered that a portion of the vehicle emissions control equipment had been altered.
In a metal container, about the size of a five-pound coffee can, behind the grill on the front of the vehicle, drugs and drug paraphernalia were found.
The vehicle search was conducted alongside the road and the driver, 51-year-old Raymond E. Spears, was taken into custody.
An officer in the Gila County Narcotics Task Force said Spears will be charged with possession of dangerous drugs, possession of dangerous drugs for sale, transporting drugs for sale, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
"The estimated street value of the drugs is $1,000," Smith said.
Spears is incarcerated in Payson with a $10,000 bond.
The investigation is continuing and more arrests, related to Spears' activity, are anticipated, Smith said.