Contributed Photo/Courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection: Detectives with the Safford Police Department and Arizona Department of Public Safety located fentanyl pills like these shown on a wanted felon after learning of a warrant for his arrest.
By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – A joint operation between an Arizona Department of Public Safety detective and a Safford Police Department detective ended with the seizure of roughly 731 fentanyl pills and one arrest.
According to a Safford Police Department report released June 2, the Safford detective was operating with the DPS detective as a two-man unit on May 12 when they noticed a man and woman riding bicycles on Main Street at about 4:45 p.m. The detectives recognized the subjects and knew them to be involved in a previous drug-related incident that occurred at the Safford Inn during March.
After positively identifying the male as Edward James Cruz Meno, 45, of Safford, the officers learned that he had an active warrant out of Pima County regarding failure to appear in court regarding a stolen vehicle, according to the report.
The officers then located the bicyclists in line at Dairy Queen. However, when the DPS detective approached Meno, the suspect leaped from his bike and attempted to flee on foot. At that time, the DPS detective tackled Meno to the ground and warned him he would be struck with a TASER if he continued to resist.
The officers then informed Meno of his warrant and placed him under arrest. A subsequent search of his person yielded $1,300 in cash. The Safford detective then searched a bag attached to the bicycle Meno was riding and found 11 baggies holding nearly 700 fentanyl pills (73.1 grams), a plastic container with another 33 fentanyl pills (3.5 grams), a couple of baggies with .5 of a gram, and .2 of a gram of methamphetamine, and various pieces of drug paraphernalia. Fentanyl is a powerful opioid that can be 50 times as potent as heroin.
During interrogation, Meno allegedly advised he uses meth and marijuana but not fentanyl or heroin. After initially saying he stole the bicycle earlier that day, Meno allegedly said he was transporting the drugs to make some money and was going to make $700 for delivering the contents of the bag.
The woman Meno was with declined the officers’ search request and was released at the scene.
Meno was then booked into jail on his drug charges. The Graham County Attorney’s Office later filed two separate cases against Meno, with the first case including charges of possession of a narcotic drug, possession of a narcotic drug for sale, transportation of a narcotic drug for sale, possession of a dangerous drug, and two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia. The second case includes charges of possession of a narcotic drug for sale, possession of a narcotic drug, possession of drug paraphernalia, and resisting arrest. He was arraigned on both cases in Graham County Superior Court on Monday, May 24.