Pipe bomb found in WInslow Meth Bust

This is the first time Winslow has seen a weapon of this seriousness involved in the meth trade

During a drug bust in the Desert Skies Trailer Park in the west-end of town, Winslow Police discovered a pipe bomb loaded with metal bearings and gunpowder. This was the first incident of its kind for Winslow and that concerns Police Chief Stephen Garnett.

Last Saturday morning, police served a warrant to search a Winslow residence for methamphetamine. Three people were arrested, Winslow residents ­ Eric Vargas, 23; Eric Baca, 24; and Rudy Gonzales, 25.

Police had been doing surveillance on the suspects' residence for some time before they made the bust on the trailer with an expensive blue Audi parked in front. Today that car is parked at the police station.

Once police found the bomb, they withdrew from the immediate scene until the arrival of the Department of Public Safety Bomb Disposal Unit that flew into the Lindbergh Airport from Phoenix.

"The community needs to know that drugs are not a victimless crime, and this incident is an example of that," Garnett said.

"For the first time in six years, there has been a dramatic increase in the drug trade in Winslow. Where you have drugs, you have violence and property crime, and now you have explosive devices. How many people could have been affected by this pipe bomb?"

Garnett said that in the business of drug trafficking, drug dealers create fear and intimidation to those around them.

"People should let us know if they see these types of things are going on," he said.

K.C. Clark, the deputy commander of the major-crimes apprehension team for Navajo County, said he has been in law enforcement for 17 years and has seen the rise of methamphetamine in this area.

"This house we busted today was affecting Holbrook, Joseph City and Show LowŠthis is a terrible and dangerous drug, and it crosses all races and classes," he said.

Methamphetamine has evolved since Nazis and other soldiers during World War II first used it. Clarke said, our main problem today is crystallized meth ­ a far more potent and longer lasting version ­ that is coming out of Mexico.

"Violence associated with crystal meth goes back to burglaries, home invasions and homicides that we have had here in Winslow," Clarke said.

Over the years there have been several homicides involved with crystal meth use.

The City of Winslow is now Ephedrine law similar to that done in the Verde Valley or in Oklahoma, but Clark said that since so much is crossing the borders now, it makes the problem much harder to deal with.

"We are still going to be strong in enforcement, but what we are looking at now beyond enforcement are things like education and treatment," Clarke said.

"We would like to thank those people who came forward on this; if not for their support and courage, we would not have been able to make this bust," Garnett said.

Chief Garnett said that people are the eyes and ears of the police department and can help them in maintaining safety for the whole community.

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