Here’s a hint: If you are going to do a drug swap, don’t do it under a security camera.
That was the lesson learned on Thursday, Sept. 2, after Tonto Apache Tribe officers intercepted a major drug deal, arresting four individuals on drug related charges.
Officers easily found 2.5 pounds of marijuana and 26 grams of cocaine in the back seat of a vehicle after casino security witnessed a drug swap happen below one of their large parking lot surveillance cameras.
Reportedly, Olajuwon Myers, 25, Vanessa Martinez, 23, and Michael Martinez, 21, drove to the Mazatzal Hotel and Casino from the Valley in a 2002 Acura carrying drugs for a swap, said Tonto Apache Officer Carlos Garcia.
At the casino parking lot, Olajuwon met his father, Freddie Myers, 58, who had traveled from Holbrook.
As the Martinezes acted as lookouts, the drugs were transferred from the Acura to Freddie’s Dodge Durango.
“Casino surveillance caught it all on film,” Garcia said.
It is unclear, but either before or after the swap, the whole group entered the casino and gambled for some time.
Meanwhile, casino security notified Officer Winter Burdette of the situation.
When the group had returned to their vehicles, Burdette approached and asked what was going on around 6 p.m.
Burdette said the group acted suspicious and nervous. When he asked to search their vehicles, they refused. Burdette called Payson Police Officer John Huss and his K-9 Dex to the scene.
Dex alerted officers to the back seat of the Durango, where the marijuana and cocaine was found wrapped in plastic, coated with either vanilla extract or syrup and placed inside freezer bags. Officers also found $2,000 in cash.
The Myerses were arrested without incident and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of narcotic, possession of marijuana for sale and possession of narcotics for sale.
The Martinezes were arrested on conspiracy charges.
Both Myerses were on parole for previous drug violations, Garcia said.
The Payson drug task force assisted with the investigation.