Traffic Stop Leads To Drug Arrests

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Local officers investigating routine traffic violations last week discovered a significant amount of heroin, marijuana and drug paraphernalia, police say.

As a result of the discovery, four individuals were later arrested on various drug-related charges, and 12 grams of heroin was seized, police say.

The arrests tipped off Oct. 18, when a detective with the Payson Police Department noticed a man driving in the Star Valley area with a suspended license.

PPD Det. Sgt. Jason Hazelo said the detective knew Jason Figaniak’s driving privileges were suspended, so he contacted the Gila County Sheriff’s Office.

A sheriff’s deputy stopped Figaniak for the driving infraction.

During a search of the vehicle, the deputy located approximately 5 grams of heroin, which is considered a sellable quantity, Hazelo said.

Figaniak was arrested on charges of possession of narcotic drugs for sale, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving on a suspended license. He was later released.

The following night, Oct. 19, Arizona Department of Public Safety Officer Seth Meeske stopped a southbound southbound vehicle on Highway 87 with Jeffrey Vance and Kimberly Marker inside.

Meeske located drug paraphernalia, a usable amount of marijuana and approximately 7 grams of heroin in the vehicle.

Meeske requested assistance from the PPD’s Special Enforcement Unit (SEU).

Subsequently, police searched Vance and Marker’s residence, where more heroin and drug paraphernalia was located, Hazelo said.

The drug paraphernalia was for heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine consumption, Hazelo said.

Vance and Marker were booked into the Gila County Jail for possession of narcotic drug for sale, possession of narcotic drug, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and transportation of narcotic drugs for sale. Vance was also arrested for false information to law enforcement and driving on a suspended license. Marker was also arrested for an outstanding warrant for contempt of court and use of narcotic, marijuana and dangerous drugs.

The investigation remains open and additional charges are pending, Hazelo said.

The Gila County Attorney’s Office has filed a complaint on Vance and he is currently in custody in Globe.

On Friday, the SEU searched Figaniak’s home at 130 Walters Lane in Star Valley and again arrested Figaniak as well as Brenden C. Beach for drug violations.

A man walking in the area at the time, who wished not to be identified, said he saw several officers outside Figaniak’s home and then heard what sounded like a loud firecracker.

Detectives located more than a half-pound of marijuana and a small amount of heroin, Hazelo said.

Figaniak and Beach were booked into the Gila County Jail for possession of marijuana, use of marijuana, possession of narcotic drug, use of narcotic drug, possession of drug paraphernalia and misconduct involving weapons.

Detectives will request additional charges as the investigation continues, Hazelo said.

“In all of these cases, the local law enforcement agencies, including DPS, Gila County Sheriff’s Office, PPD and the Gila County Attorney’s Office worked well together to combat the ongoing drug problem that plagues our community,” Hazelo said. “As always, Payson citizens are very helpful in combating the drug problem in the local area. They assisted this week and have in the past.”

If you have any information or concerns in your neighborhood, call the PPD at (928) 474-5177, ext. 309.

Leave a message with dispatch or ask for Hazelo, supervisor of the Special Enforcement Unit. You may remain anonymous, however, if you wish to hear the status of your report, leave a name and phone number and a detective will contact you.

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