ASH FORK –Thursday, a Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office K9 deputy stopped a gray Ford F-150 truck on eastbound Interstate 40, Ash Fork. Three men were allegedly to be transporting more than 22 pounds of marijuana from California to Oklahoma.
The suspects are Blong Thao, 21, Nao Thao, 25, and Tou Xiong, 23, all from California and charged with transportation of marijuana for sale, possession of marijuana for sale and possession of drug paraphernalia.
After spotting the truck making moving violations, the deputy stopped the F150 and talked to the driver Nao Thao. But, while speaking with the three men, the deputy detected the smell of marijuana inside the vehicle. Nao Thao explained they were heading to Tulsa, Okla., to spend the week with family. But, the officer discovered the Ford had been rented and was due back the following day in conflict with their stated plans. Suspecting contraband, the deputy requested permission to search and was denied.
As a result, a certified K9 narcotics detection dog conducted an exterior sniff of the truck body. At the rear passenger side door seam, the deputy’s K9 exhibited several alert signals indicating an odor of narcotics/drug contraband. Based on the alert, a search of the cab revealed a baggie containing marijuana under a rear passenger seat. Checking the truck bed, the deputy located 3 ice chests and a suit case. Under a layer of food and ice in each chest, deputies found several zip-lock baggies containing marijuana. The suit case also contained several baggies of marijuana. There were a total of 21 bags, each weighing about a pound packaged for sale.
All 3 suspects admitted knowledge of the marijuana and its destination to Oklahoma for sales. Deputies also recovered over $1800 from the suspects related to this investigation. The suspects were booked at the Camp Verde Detention Center and remain in-custody, each on a $10,000 bond.