3 men arrested after Arizona traffic stops yield $3.75M in fentanyl pills

3 men arrested after Arizona traffic stops yield $3.75M in fentanyl pills
Approximately 50,000 narcotic pills laced with fentanyl were found hidden in a suitcase during one of two traffic stops conducted by deputies Thursday. (Gila County Sheriff's Office)

PAYSON, Ariz. — Two traffic stops by Arizona police on Thursday led officers to a stash of fentanyl pills with a street value of $3.75 million, authorities said.

Both arrests took place in Payson, KTVK reported.

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At around 8:30 a.m., the Gila County Sheriff’s Office said deputies became suspicious during a traffic stop, the television station reported. A drug K-9 was employed to check out the vehicle, and deputies discovered 100,000 pills laced with fentanyl, KNXV reported. The value of the pills was $2,500,000, the television station reported.

The driver of the vehicle, Mauricio Compos Ruiz, 25, of Phoenix, was arrested and charged with transportation and possession of a narcotic drug for sale, along with two counts of possession of a narcotic drug and possession of drug paraphernalia, the television station reported.

At about 5:45 p.m., deputies attempted to stop a vehicle in Payson but it sped away, KTVK reported. They caught up to the vehicle in the parking lot of a grocery store, where one of the two men in the car ran into a wooded area.

The man was found moments later.

The two men, both from Phoenix, were arrested and identified as Miguel Angel Lopez Valenzuela, 36, and Jesus Acosta, 25, KTVK reported.

The vehicle was searched, and deputies recovered approximately 50,000 pills laced with fentanyl that were hidden in a suitcase, the television station reported. The pills seized had a street value of $1,250,000.

According to KTVK, Valenzuela and Acosta were charged with transportation of a narcotic drug for sale, possession of a narcotic drug for sale, possession of a narcotic drug, possession of drug paraphernalia, and unlawful flight from law enforcement.