Nosey K9s lead to Yavapai County drug busts

A Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office K9 deputy stopped a white Lexus sedan for speeding and a lane change violation on east I40, mile post 137. The driver, and only occupant, was identified as 21-year-old Malek Alotaibi from Montebello, California. While speaking with Malek, the deputy detected an odor of marijuana coming from the passenger compartment.

The deputy requested and was granted permission by Malek to check for the source of the odor.

As the deputy entered the trunk, Malek admitted marijuana would be found inside a bag. Malek indicated he had applied for a medical marijuana card in California but had yet to receive it. The deputy did locate marijuana inside a gray bag along with a bottle labeled “Medical Cannabis” which contained several black chunks of hashish (a form of concentrated cannabis). Finally, during a check of the back seat area, the deputy found a Coca Cola can that felt different from a standard soda can. Investigating further, it was discovered the “can” was designed with a sealed compartment that held marijuana cigarettes.

Malek claimed he bought the marijuana and hashish at a dispensary in California. He was not aware that the hashish is considered a narcotic drug in Arizona.

Malek was booked on charges including Possession of Narcotic Drugs, Possession of Marijuana, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He remains in the Camp Verde Detention Center on a $10,000 bond.

A Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office K9 supervisor stopped a red Honda coupe last week for a speeding violation on north I17 in Cordes Junction. The vehicle, which displayed Kentucky license plates, was driven by Kentucky resident, 62-year-old Stephen Ledonne.

As the deputy was speaking with Stephen, he detected an odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle interior, even though Stephen had rolled down his window only a few inches. Stephen was directed from the vehicle and granted the deputy consent to search the interior.

During the search, the deputy smelled a stronger odor of “raw” marijuana coming from the rear of the vehicle. A check of the trunk exposed a duffle bag which was found to contain 4 plastic bags of marijuana and 2 smaller ziplock baggies also with marijuana inside. The total weight was reported at 4 pounds. This marijuana is considered a higher grade thus its value is likely several thousand dollars per pound.

Stephen eventually admitted knowledge of the marijuana. Stephen was booked at the Camp Verde Detention Center on charges including Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Marijuana for Sale, and Transportation of Marijuana for Sale. He remains in-custody on a $50,000 bond.