Smugglers Enter U.S. Illegally Arrested With Heroin In Yavapai County

Martin Salas | Luis Lopez-Sanchez

On September 28, 2016, a Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office K9 deputy arrested 37-year-old Martin Salas and 29-year-old Luis Lopez-Sanchez for various narcotic charges. Both suspects are from Mexico.

Around 4:45 p.m., a Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office deputy noticed a white 2005 Jeep SUV travelling north on I17 in the Camp Verde area with a visible equipment violation. As the deputy accelerated to catch the Jeep, the driver made an unsafe lane change and cut off an adjacent vehicle. The Jeep quickly exited the freeway and attempted to enter the south I17 ramp but was stopped by the deputy.

The driver was identified as Luis Lopez-Sanchez who was accompanied by a passenger, Martin Salas. Luis provided a Mexico identification card. During a conversation with the occupants, the deputy detected an odor of marijuana from the Jeep’s interior. Luis told the deputy he was heading to Utah to visit family, but suddenly turned around because he forgot his cell phone. The phone was later found. Additionally, Luis could not provide the passenger’s correct name. Martin told the deputy in a separate interview that they were heading to Las Vegas for work. Suspecting the vehicle may contain drug/narcotic contraband in part, based on the marijuana odor, the deputy requested and received consent to search.

Inside the Jeep, the K9 deputy found a meth pipe and usable amount of marijuana stuffed into the passenger seat. During a routine examination of the engine compartment, the deputy noticed that the air filter case had fresh handprints on it and was loose.

Removing the filter cover exposed a package wrapped in duct tape. Upon opening the package, the deputy discovered in excess of 2 pounds of heroin and a handgun. During a detailed search of suspect Martin, deputies found meth and marijuana hidden in his shoes.

Deputies are in the process of investigating the transportation of this narcotic including its origin and destination. In the meantime, both suspects were booked at the Camp Verde Detention Center on charges including Possession/Transportation of Narcotic Drugs, Possession of Narcotic Drugs, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Weapons Misconduct.

Both suspects indicated they had entered the US illegally just a few days prior and each remains incustody
on an immigration hold.


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