Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS) troopers recently arrested two men during a traffic stop after discovering a sparkly and colorful unicorn backpack filled with fentanyl pills and cocaine in the vehicle.
According to a press release from the AZDPS, troopers stopped a Dodge Challenger headed north on the Interstate 17 near Cordes Junction on suspicion of criminal activity.
During the traffic stop, a narcotics detection canine led troopers to a unicorn backpack and suitcase filled with 37.5 pounds of fentanyl pills and 1 gram of cocaine.
The troopers also recovered a loaded AK-47-style pistol concealed inside the vehicle.
Ray Rodriguez, 22, of Glendale and passenger, Nathan Perez, 22, were subsequently arrested and booked into the Yavapai County Jail on multiple charges including possession, sale, and transportation of a narcotic drug. In addition, the men were charged with weapons-related misconduct.
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid similar to morphine but much more potent and dangerous. Fentanyl distribution and overdose are major problems in the state. According to data from Arizona Department of Health Services, opioid overdoses exceeded 1,500 deaths from 2017 to 2021. In 2021, there were 2,006 confirmed opioid-related overdose deaths.
The latest arrests by the AZDPS come nearly a month after Pima County Sheriff’s Office detectives discovered 370,000 fentanyl pills worth nearly $1.4 million during a traffic stop near Tucson.
Possession of fentanyl in Arizona is a Class 4 felony punishable by up to one year in jail for those without prior convictions.