Darren Keller (Source: Yavapai County Sheriff's Office)
Jose Ramirez (Source: Yavapai County Sheriff's Office)
PRESCOTT, AZ (CBS5) -
Two Colorado men were taken into custody Tuesday after Yavapai County authorities discovered methamphetamine hidden in the wheel well of their vehicle.
A Yavapai County Sheriff's Office K-9 deputy stopped the vehicle on Interstate 17 for equipment and moving violations.
The driver, 23-year-old Darren Keller, and his passenger, 22-year-old Jose Ramirez, said they were heading home from Phoenix.
When the sheriff's deputy asked Keller if the vehicle contained any drugs, the man said "no" and consented to a search at the deputy's request.
The deputy said he smelled marijuana, while checking the front passenger side and traced its source to a passenger seat pocket. Neither Keller nor Ramirez had medical marijuana cards, YCSO said.
A K-9 was deployed and alerted to the wheel well of the vehicle. The deputy noticed a spot covered with fresh body putty and paint, and saw that the wheel well had been recently painted, YCSO said.
When the deputy began prying some of the putty away, he determined it was concealing a void in the frame.
When the putty was removed, it revealed a metal cover which, when detached, exposed a compartment that extended to the opposite wheel well, the sheriff's office said.
The compartment was found to contain nine wrapped packages of meth weighing 16 pounds.
The deputy also seized nearly $3,500. Keller and Ramirez were booked at the Camp Verde Detention Center on charges of transportation of dangerous drug for sales, and possession of dangerous drugs for sale.
Each has a $100,000 bond and both remain in custody.
YCSO said the drugs have a street value of more than $150,000.
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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