Theft allegation leads to heroin charge

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – A woman may not have stolen a wallet as alleged but when she offered up her possessions to prove her innocence an officer located heroin and drug paraphernalia.

An officer was initially dispatched to the Valley Motel at 1050 W. Thatcher Blvd. at about 11 p.m. on Sunday, June 24, regarding a theft.

Upon arrival, the occupant of the motel room advised that he had given $20 to a woman named Cynthia Valdez for groceries and when he used the restroom she absconded with his wallet, which had an additional $45 in it, along with identification cards.

The officer noted the walls, ceiling, and furniture of the motel room were wallpapered with pictures from pornographic magazines. Knowing Valdez to be a drug user, the officer inquired if the man had sold drugs to Valdez or exchanged drugs for sexual favors. The man denied doing any such activity.

The officer was then dispatched to the are of 11th Avenue and 7th Street, where Valdez and her boyfriend, Phillip Gonzales, were seen. The officer encountered the couple and asked about the wallet.

Valdez allegedly advised that she hadn’t even been at the Valley Motel that day and offered up her belongings – a backpack and an ice chest – for the officer to check for the wallet. 

While going through the ice chest, the officer located a metal container. Valdez told the officer there was nothing in the container but the officer could hear noises when he shook it.

Upon opening the container, the officer located three un-capped syringes, a silver spoon with a black, burned substance in the bowl area, and a piece of aluminum foil with burned apparent drug residue streaks.

Valdez and Gonzales allegedly admitted the substance in the spoon was heroin and said it belonged to both of them. They both also had fresh injection marks on their arms, and Valdez said she and Philip inject heroin but could quit when they wanted.

Valdez and Gonzales were both arrested for possession of a narcotic drug and paraphernalia. They were fingerprinted at the police department and then released pending prosecution. The missing wallet was not found.