Task Force Nets 231 Pounds Of Marijuana

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A drug interdiction officer with the Gila County Sheriff's Office (GCSO) recovered 231 pounds of marijuana during a routine traffic stop last week.

Agent Travis Baxley, who is also part of the Gila County Narcotics Task Force, stopped the red Chevy pickup with Oklahoma plates on State Route 77, just south of Globe.

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Agent Travis Baxley (left) of the Gila County Sheriff's Office (pictured with Sgt. Danny Alexander) noticed the bed of this Chevy truck looked like it had been altered when he pulled the driver over for speeding. A compartment beneath the bed contained 231 pounds of marijuana.

"As soon as (Baxley) walked up to the vehicle and passed the bed of the truck, he could tell the bed had been altered," Task Force Det. Jim Oestmann said. "The depth of the bed was much shallower than a normal bed. With (Baxley's) experience and training, he knew there was a false compartment in the bed of the truck."

Baxley contacted the driver, 47-year-old Christina Corona of Tucson, and passenger, 40-year-old Jesus Galaviz, who is a Mexican national.

"(Corona) had a suspended license, so (Baxley) arrested her for driving on a suspended license," Oestmann said. "This allowed him cause to search the vehicle incident to the arrest. He looked underneath the vehicle and saw the false door."

Oestmann and other officers were called in to assist, and the truck was taken to the Globe impound yard.

"We retrieved 231 pounds of marijuana from the bed of the truck" Oestmann said. "(That included) 39 individual bricks of compacted marijuana."

Officers believe that Corona and Galaviz picked up the drugs in Tucson and were transporting them to Oklahoma for sale.

"Both were booked into the Globe jail for possession and transportation of marijuana for sale," Oestmann said.

Their bonds were set at $25,000 each, and after paying, both were released the following day.

Staff at the Globe jail confirmed that they were released, but refused to provide the Roundup with the conditions or circumstances of their release.

According to Oestmann, this is the second large bust in a two-month period.

"A couple months back, Travis got 250 pounds in another similar traffic stop," he said.

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