Ex-MCSO Deputy Allegedly Had Drugs in Evidence Bags in His Garage
Ramon Charley Armendariz, who was an MCSO deputy before his run-in with police last week, had drugs in his garage that investigators found in evidence bags, according to court documents.
According to court documents, deputies found "possible drugs" at Armendariz's place, including pot, meth, heroin, and LSD. These finds were made after Armendariz called 911 Wednesday night to report a burglar in his house -- a burglar that didn't exist.
According to a probable-cause statement from an MCSO deputy, the Phoenix PD had responded to Armendariz's call at his home at 32nd and Eugie avenues but gave the Sheriff's Office a heads-up that it would be dealing with one of its own deputies.
That statement continues:
[Sergeant] Malast made contact with Charley, who [he] knew from previous interactions within the Office. He immediately noticed that Charley appeared agitated, as he was clenching and unclenching his jaw, opening and closing his mouth, wildly gesturing with his hands, pacing back and forth, and alternating from speaking steadily in a normal conversational tone to raising his voice and speaking rapidly. Based on Malast's training and experience he believed Charley to be under the influence of a central nervous system stimulant or suffering from some kind of manic episode. Malast asked Charley what was going on and how he was doing and Charley began telling him that Phoenix PD was treating him like he was crazy, and that he wasn't a crazy person. He described to Malast how his house alarm sounded and he came into the garage, finding it open after he had just come out and secured it for the night. Charley told him he saw a subject wearing all black by the Jeep in the garage, and that the subject disappeared from sight and he saw the Jeep begin to rock back and forth as if someone was in it.
Armendariz told the deputy he thought the burglar was hiding in a box with his Christmas tree on a shelf in his garage. The deputy went to grab the box and noticed an MCSO evidence bag containing a metal pipe and a bag of weed on a lower shelf. There was no burglar in the Christmas tree box.
Elsewhere in Armendariz's home were a small digital scale and very small plastic bags, in plain view, according to the court documents.
Within a few hours, now Thursday morning, MCSO obtained a search warrant for Armendariz's home.
In addition to the evidence bag of pot, deputies also found "additional property bags containing possible drugs such as marijuana, methamphetamines, heroin, and LSD, which will be sent to the Department of Public Safety lab for further analysis," the probable-cause statement says. Deputies were able to field-test the pot and meth, which came back positive, according to the documents.
Deputies also found an illegal sawed-off shotgun in a filing cabinet in Armendariz's garage, according to court documents.
For whatever reason, Armendariz wasn't arrested that day.
Sunday night, Phoenix PD went to Armendariz's house, and Armendariz barricaded himself inside, eventually turning himself over to a Phoenix PD SWAT team early Monday morning. Armendariz resigned from the MCSO between those two events.
Phoenix Police Officer James Holmes described the arrest as "an assist by Phoenix PD for MCSO."
Armendariz was booked into jail on charges of misconduct involving weapons, marijuana possession, dangerous-drug possession, and possession of drug paraphernalia -- all felony charges. A judge ordered that Armendariz be released pending trial, under the condition that Armendariz be placed on house arrest.
Stephen Lemons mentioned in the initial story on Armendariz's arrest that he was a player in the Melendres v. Arpaio civil-rights case.
UPDATE May 9: Armendariz was found dead in his home in an apparent suicide.
Got a tip? Send it to: Matthew Hendley.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Phoenix, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.