KINGMAN — One of the suspects in the largest methamphetamine bust in Arizona history is a convicted killer.
That was one of the revelations during a Tuesday hearing regarding release conditions for Maurius Mason, 38, and Julie Mason, 52.
The Burlington, Iowa, residents were arrested following a late January traffic stop on Interstate 15 in northern Mohave County. The Department of Public safety said officers seized 362 pounds of meth from the vehicle occupied by the Masons.
Deputy Mohave County Attorney Morgan Carstensen asked Superior Court Judge Derek Carlisle to reject defense requests to reduce the Masons’ bond from $100,000 each. She noted that Maurius Mason was convicted of first-degree murder at the age of 14 and that the defendants are flight risks given severe prison punishment possibilities.
Defense attorney Michael Ziton said Maurius Mason enjoys the presumption of innocence and should be afforded the opportunity to return to work to generate revenue to fund his defense. He said his client is a talented lathe operator for a nationally known heavy equipment company.
Defense attorney Paul Ramos told the court that Julie Mason runs a day-care business that has shut down since she has been incarcerated. He said Mason and others who work there are being denied the opportunity to work until she gains freedom to resume operation of the enterprise.
“She’s just not going to fail to appear,” Ramos argued on behalf of Mrs. Mason. “She understands the ramifications of that.”
Judge Carlisle reduced bond for both defendants. Maurius Mason’s bond was reduced to $50,000 and Julie Mason now is held on a $45,000 bond.
Their next hearings are scheduled March 22.