Canadian County Sheriff’s deputies arrested two Arizona men Saturday after 15 pounds of Cocaine and 1.2 pounds of Black-tar Heroin was pulled from the trunk of the silver 2000 Mercedes Benz they were traveling in.
The driver, 56-year-old Rafael Luna of Glendale, Arizona, was stopped eastbound on Interstate 40 by a Canadian County Sheriff’s Deputy after he observed Luna driving erratically just west of El Reno. Luna is a fourth grade school teacher.
Luna and his passenger, 50-year-old Jose A. Lopez of Phoenix, told deputies they were headed to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, to watch Luna’s son graduate from U.S. Army basic training.
Inconsistencies in the men's stories caused deputies to suspect they may be involved in criminal activity, and Drug Detector K9 “Pickles” was brought to the scene to conduct a free air sniff around the vehicle.
Pickles, who has been credited with finding over 110 pounds of cocaine this year, made a positive alert to the presence of narcotics in the vehicle. After Pickles alerted on the trunk area of the Mercedes, deputies located a stash of cocaine and heroin under the spare tire, and immediately took both suspects into custody, according to the Sheriff’s office.
After Luna’s arrest, deputies learned hauling drugs for extra money was Luna’s summer job, and he even admitted that this wasn’t the first trip he’d made.
“How pathetic is it that a fourth grade public school teacher is hauling illegal narcotics that will undoubtedly end up impacting the lives of children. In spite of our President thinking there are too many people behind bars for drug trafficking, this man should be locked up for life,” said Randall Edwards, Canadian County Sheriff.
Lopez, who works as a mechanic, reportedly told investigators he’d been recruited by an unknown person about hauling drugs across country, and he had recruited Luna.
According to the Sheriff’s office, the cocaine was packaged in carbon paper and wrapped in multiple layers of cellophane, and the heroin was contained in a plastic sack, and then wrapped in disposable diapers. Both the cocaine and heroin was inside a nylon bag which was found under the spare tire in the trunk.
Along with the drugs, Deputies seized the Mercedes Benz the two were traveling in, and $1,290. Luna and Lopez were transported to the Canadian County Jail and booked in on complaints of trafficking in cocaine and trafficking in heroin.
The suspects’ bonds were set at $205,000 each, and they remain in custody.
“I’m certain the drugs with a street value in excess of one million dollars originated in Mexico, and were intended for sale on the streets of New York City,” said Edwards.