Pima County Sheriff's Department Dog Sniffs Out 430 Pounds of Weed in a Shed... During a Traffic Stop

A deputy and a dog from the Pima County Sheriff's Department were both pretty sure they smelled weed in a car during a traffic stop, but there was no pot found in the car.

While they were still there, though -- in front of the driver's house -- the dog happened to sniff out 430 pounds of marijuana in a shed on the property.

PCSD Deputy Tom Peine tells New Times that's just where the dog led them.

"I guess to the surprise...of everybody, there was nothing in [the car], and while the dog is there, the dog alerts to the property as well," he says. "Then they follow the dog; the dog goes to the shed. And, at that point they go, 'OK, OK, we need a search warrant from here.'"

The deputy pulled over 39-year-old Mashelle Womack in front of her house Thursday night after Womack had apparently evaded this deputy on the road twice, Peine says.

The deputy eventually confirmed his suspicion that he knew the driver of the car, and set up near Womack's house.

Sure enough, Womack went home some time later, and the deputy pulled her over, Peine says.

The deputy -- and the dog -- smelled the weed in the car, but a search of the vehicle didn't turn up any weed. Peine says the smell was due to the car being used to transport the marijuana.

After obtaining a search warrant, deputies found 25 bales of marijuana that added up to 430 pounds.

Womack told police that she transported the weed and stored it in her shed with help of a 17-year-old boy, and deputies also found a suspected undocumented immigrant, Jesus Tereso De Lopez-Zavala, inside the shed with the weed.

Womack ratted out herself and her two helpers as being part of a "smuggling scheme," according to PCSD.

Womack, Lopez-Zavala, and the teenager were hit with multiple marijuana-related charges, including sales and transportation. Another woman at the house, 37-year-old Kristy Ann Fejarang-Blake, was booked on one count of possessing dangerous drugs after allegedly being found with a sprinkling of meth.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jason Lewis
Contact: Jason Lewis