K9 search leads to large meth, cocaine bust

Daniel Franco, 28, was arrested on numerous felony charges after a search of the vehicle he was driving revealed $280,000 worth of methamphetamine and cocaine. (YCSO courtesy photos)

Daniel Franco, 28, was arrested on numerous felony charges after a search of the vehicle he was driving revealed $280,000 worth of methamphetamine and cocaine. (YCSO courtesy photos)

While performing a routine traffic stop May 21 of a 2015 white GMC Sierra on I-17 near Camp Verde, a K9 unit for the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office discovered multiple bundles of methamphetamine and one package of cocaine.

The driver, 28-year-old Daniel Franco, appeared “unusually nervous” and seemed “confused about his travel plans” when the deputy made contact with him, according to YCSO spokesperson Dwight D’Evelyn.

After it was determined Franco was an unlicensed driver, the deputy completed a consent search of the vehicle and found a THC E-cigarette cartridge emitting a strong odor of marijuana.

“Based on the contact with Franco to this point, the deputy suspected Franco may be concealing additional contraband within the truck,” D’Evelyn said.

The deputy deployed his certified K9 partner, Vader, who displayed alert signals near the space between the truck bed and the cab.

Deputies noticed a stock vehicle tire iron on top of the back seat, along with other changing components on the floorboard. Since there was no evidence a tire had been recently changed, deputies checked the spare under the truck, saw it was flat, and found indications of recent activity – common for drug smuggling.

After removing the tire, which required a key in Franco’s possession, deputies located a void under the bed of the truck where they removed three bundled packages, all wrapped in tape and multiple layers of plastic.

The contents of the bundles included seven one-pound packages of methamphetamine and a package containing approximately 3/4-pound of cocaine.

The meth deputies seized is reportedly worth about $250,000, and the cocaine is worth an estimated $30,000.

Franco denied any knowledge of the drugs, D’Evelyn said.

Franco was booked in the Camp Verde jail on charges including transport and intent to sell of dangerous drugs and narcotics and possession of a narcotic drug.

He remains in custody on a $10,000 bond.

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