Cop confiscates heroin addict’s rig

Contributed Photo/Courtesy GCSO: Anthony Ybarra had his heroin rig confiscated when a Safford officer pulled him over while he was riding a bicycle through the city.

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – A habitual shoplifter and heroin addict had his “rig” confiscated by a Safford officer after the officer believed the man to be riding a bicycle at night without a light. A heroin rig is a hypodermic needle along with other tools, such as spoons, required to prepare and ingest the drug. 

According to Safford City Code, bicyclists in the city must have an illuminated light in the front of the bikes and a rear deflector in the back.

The man, identified as Anthony Ybarra, 53, was pulled over May 29 at about 9 p.m. as he was westbound on 7th Street just off 8th Avenue.

Upon making a traffic stop, Ybarra showed the officer his headlamp and said he simply turned it off after he was pulled over. The officer also noticed a small type of rear reflector. 

However, the officer also believed Ybarra to be wanted regarding shoplifting TVs from Walmart and then selling them as well as other shoplifting charges, but he later learned the Graham County Attorney’s Office had filed the case with counts of shoplifting and trafficking in stolen property, but Ybarra had been previously released regarding those charges. Additional shoplifting charges were apparently pending charging as well.  He also previously was found guilty in Thatcher for shoplifting and failure to appear at his hearing.

During his interaction with Ybarra, the officer also located the suspect’s rig, which included three hypodermic needles, and two spoons with apparent drug residue. The needles were destroyed for safety purposes and the spoons were packaged as evidence.

Ybarra allegedly told the officer that he couldn’t help but steal, even when he has money in his pocket. He advised that he steals to support his heroin addiction.

Last week, the Gila Herald profiled two new local outpatient recovery facilities that aim to curb opiate abuse. That article can be viewed by clicking here.

After collecting the evidence and taking pictures of the needles before destroying them, Ybarra was released from the scene.