KINGMAN — A Mohave County jury has convicted a man of hauling drugs through Mohave County — although the defendant wasn’t around when the verdict was returned.
The panel deliberated about 31/2 hours Wednesday before finding Yefry Harrison Arias-Saldana, 35, guilty of transportation of dangerous drugs for sale and transportation of narcotic drugs for sale.
The defendant, from Chicago, was acquitted of a drug paraphernalia possession count.
Attorneys presented opening statements in the trial in Kingman on Tuesday afternoon. Arias-Saldana did not return Wednesday and a warrant for his arrest was issued after the verdicts were read at the courthouse.
Authorities said almost 12 pounds of methamphetamine and about 21/2 pounds of heroin was found in the vehicle Arias-Saldana was driving, following an Oct. 21 traffic stop on Interstate 40 in Kingman. A passenger in the vehicle, Marvin Cuevas, 35, also from Chicago, is held in the Mohave County jail while awaiting trial.
Department of Public Safety Detective Kyle Creager told the jury that he questioned both suspects following the traffic stop. He said they offered inconsistent statements and stories about their trip from Chicago to California before driving east until the traffic stop occurred.
Prosecutor Amanda Claerhout said Arias-Saldana faces mandatory prison if he is returned to Kingman for sentencing. The possible range is from three to 20 years.