When the Payson police were called to Famous Sam's restaurant Saturday night, Damon Flores, 24, of Safford, told them he had been robbed.
The investigation later revealed that the item Flores was missing was a bag containing nearly 100 grams of methamphetamine -- a bag he accidentally dropped earlier that night, according to police.
Police Lt. Don Engler said Flores was carrying a cloth bag in his pocket when he dropped it near Safeway. The person who found it notified the police.
"It's a pretty convoluted story," Engler said. "Mr. Flores had a distant family member who was working at the gas station at Safeway. Evidently, he was running back and forth from Famous Sam's to the gas station making whatever arrangements for later in the evening and it appears that a cloth bag fell out of his pocket. That quantity of meth has a street value of approximately $5,000."
Sgt. Donny Garvin, who responded to the initial call, said it was former Fire Marshal Jack Babb who found the bag lying on the ground.
"Jack Babb was driving through town and stopped at Safeway to get gas and found the bag," Garvin said. "He looked in it and called us. When I got there, I noticed it was a significant amount and took it to the station to process it into evidence."
In the meantime, Flores returned to Famous Sam's where he discovered his bag was missing, Engler said. Flores called police to report that he had allegedly been pushed to the ground and robbed, Engler said.
"We brought (Flores) to the station," Garvin said. "He stated he had gone to Safeway gas station. That was our first indication that he may have had possession of the bag."
Garvin said this was confirmed by video tape at the gas station.
"On further investigation, we feel that the missing item was the drugs and that's what the dispute was over," Engler said. "We finally got enough that we could confirm that (the bag containing meth) was his property. He agreed that there was an issue over drugs and that's why he was assaulted."
"He admitted to carrying the drugs, but told us he was holding them for someone else," Garvin said.
Flores was arrested and charged with possession of dangerous drugs for sale and possession of drug paraphernalia.
The county attorney's office did not file a complaint within 48 hours, therefore Flores was released from custody. However, a complaint may be filed at a later date.