Cops say man speeding was on speed and in possession of weapons illegally due to felonious past

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – A Safford officer arrested Gavino Roberto Cruz Jr., 47, of Safford, on charges of DUI and misconduct involving weapons late Friday night after pulling Cruz over for traveling 50 mph in a 35 mph zone. 

According to a Safford Police report, an officer was eastbound in the 400 block on U.S. Highway 70 at about 11:31 p.m. when he saw a westbound white Dodge truck that appeared to be going significantly faster than the posted speed limit.

The officer verified the truck was speeding with his radar and turned around to follow the suspect. After doing so, the officer also noticed the truck cross over the solid yellow line.

The officer noted the driver, later identified as Cruz, appeared to show signs of methamphetamine intoxication and arrested him for DUI after Cruz failed a field sobriety test. 

During the traffic stop, the officer located a magazine loaded with 9-mm bullets in Cruz’s jacket. Cruz then advised he had a pistol in the truck, and the officer located a fully loaded Ruger 9-mm pistol with a chambered bullet. The officer also located two additional fully loaded magazines.

Cruz allegedly admitted to being previously convicted of felonies back in 1998 and said he purchased the gun from a friend in Tucson. After the officer was informed by another officer that Cruz had multiple felony convictions, he seized the gun and magazines and informed Cruz that a request of a charge of misconduct involving weapons would be forwarded to the Graham County Attorney’s Office since Cruz appeared to be a prohibited possessor. 

According to online court records, Cruz had his civil rights restored from a 1998 felony conviction in 2005 and from a 1996 felony conviction in 2014. However, he was found guilty of DUI while driving on a suspended license in 2009 and served a week in jail before being placed on probation. That case reference did not state that his civil rights had been restored following that conviction. 

After taking a blood sample for testing purposes, Cruz was released from the Safford Police Department with a DUI charge pending review by prosecutors and lab test results. The prohibited possessor charge is also pending review.