Duncan man sentenced to five years in prison in fentanyl transportation case

Contributed Photo/Courtesy GCSO: Dylan Dewane Waters, 21, was sentenced Tuesday to five years in prison for transportation of a narcotic drug for sale.

“This is not a young person dabbling in a few drugs. This is a person with massive quantities and bad intentions with those drugs.” 

Graham County Superior Court Judge Michael D. Peterson 

By Jon Johnson


SAFFORD – Calling him a “massive player” in the local dealing of fentanyl, Graham County Superior Court Judge Michael D. Peterson sentenced Dylan Dewane Waters, 21, of Duncan, to five years in prison on Tuesday.  

“You have made decisions that warrant five years in the Department of Corrections,” Judge Peterson said. “If it were available to me I would go higher than the five years . . . Under the circumstances, it’s difficult for me to even accept this plea because the available range of punishment should otherwise be up to 12-and-a-half years in prison but the upper range has been trimmed out.”

Waters previously pleaded guilty on April 20 to transportation of a narcotic drug for sale – a Class-2 felony, and possession of drug paraphernalia – a Class-6 felony. According to the plea agreement, Waters faced a maximum of five years in prison but probation was also available with the decision being up to the judge.

However, Judge Petersen called the idea he would sentence Waters to probation a “fantasy” due to the amount of fentanyl Waters was involved with.  

“With all due respect, it’s a fantasy to think that probation is going to happen under these circumstances,” Judge Peterson said.

“The reality is you’re into this in a big way . . . You’re not somebody who is in this dabbling a little bit on the weekends. You created a dangerous situation for people in this community and for yourself and others by bringing massive quantities of illicit drugs that kill people all the time.” 

Jon Johnson File Photo/Gila Herald: Graham County Superior Court Judge Michael D. Peterson, shown here during a previous sentencing, called Waters a “massive player” in dealing fentanyl.

Waters was one piece of an undercover Arizona Department of Public Safety operation.

The operation included multiple purchases of hundreds of blue, 30-mg fentanyl pills by an undercover detective and the seizure of 1,000 fentanyl pills and roughly two ounces of heroin after a car driven by two of the suspects was pulled over for speeding upon returning from Phoenix with the drugs.

Aaron Sean Maddock, 24, and Waters were located in the vehicle and were both arrested on Feb. 17 and booked into the Graham County Adult Detention Facility on charges of possession of a narcotic drug, possession of a narcotic drug for sale, and transportation of a narcotic drug for sale. The following day, co-conspirator Randon Micah Raymond Ray, 30, of Safford, was arrested and booked into jail on charges of possession of a narcotic drug, possession of a narcotic drug for sale, and transportation of a narcotic drug for sale.

On Tuesday, Waters’ attorney, Dennis McCarthy, asked for leniency for his client and said he could be a good candidate for probation. McCarthy advised Waters began using drugs at age 15 and has progressed to taking 10 fentanyl pills per day to feed his habit and that his portion of the pills to be brought back to the Gila Valley was mostly to feed his own habit. McCarthy noted Waters’ strong family support as yet another reason to give him a chance to clean up and become a productive member of society. McCarthy then requested Waters be placed on intensive probation and given rehabilitation.  

“I think this kid has a chance,” McCarthy said. 

A presentence report from the Graham County Probation Department also recommended treatment and probation, however, Graham County Deputy County Attorney Garet Kartchner disagreed with that summation and requested the court sentence Waters to the maximum term available due to the plea agreement of five years in prison. 

Speaking on his own behalf, Waters apologized for his actions and said his parents raised him right and that he just needed to get clean of opiates.

Contributed Photo/Courtesy GCSO: Aaron Maddock, 24, is facing 16 counts against him.

According to DPS reports, an undercover operative made multiple purchases of fentanyl pills from Maddock throughout the beginning of February. On Feb. 4, the operative purchased 200 pills from Maddock for $1,500; on Feb. 8, the operative again purchased 200 fentanyl pills from Maddock for $1,500; and on Feb. 11, the operative purchased 400 fentanyl pills from Maddock for $3,000, with the promise of an extra 100 pills later. On Feb. 17, the operative arranged another buy for $3,000 and was supposed to receive 600 pills, which included the 100 pills already owed. The investigation revealed that Maddock had been working with Ray involving dealing with the pills.

As investigators awaited the suspects’ vehicle to return to the Gila Valley, it was spotted going 63 mph in a 45-mph-zone on Feb. 17, at about 9:10 p.m. After the vehicle was pulled over, detectives arrived and located a black box under the hood of the vehicle that contained 1,000 blue, 30-mg fentanyl pills (101.9 grams) and 50.9 grams of heroin. Maddock was found driving the car, and Waters was a passenger. Waters later allegedly admitted to having placed some money for a quantity of the pills they were bringing back to Safford and his role in the drug ring.

Contributed Photo/Courtesy GCSO: Randon Micah Ray

On Feb. 18, Ray was interviewed and allegedly admitted to his role and said he had been dealing heroin since he was laid off in April 2020. Ray said he began with heroin but started getting more fentanyl pills due to their popularity. He advised he normally bought two ounces of heroin and 700 fentanyl pills every three or four days from a Mexican National in Phoenix. He advised that he buys the pills for $3 each and sells them for $10 per pill or $6 per pill wholesale. On Feb. 17, he sent $3,400 with Maddock for him to pick up 800 pills and two ounces of heroin from his connection in Phoenix. The extra 200 pills found were purchased by Maddock and Waters, according to detectives.

Ray also allegedly advised selling wholesale to Maddock and other dealers in the area. He said Maddock began by just buying pills from him but that they had since formed a type of business partnership. Ray also allegedly admitted to using himself and said he takes two to three hits off a pill each day.

Maddock has 16 counts against him and a change of plea hearing has been set for his case. Ray is facing one count of possession of drug paraphernalia and four counts of conspiracy to transport a narcotic drug for sale.

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