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State v. Arellano

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division, Department B

July 25, 2013

STATE OF ARIZONA, Appellee,
v.
MELCHISEDCH GARCIA ARELLANO, Appellant.

(Not for Publication – Rule 111, Rules of the Arizona Supreme Court)

Appeal from the Superior Court in Navajo County Cause No. S0900CR201100329 The Honorable John N. Lamb, Judge.

Thomas C. Horne, Attorney General Phoenix by Joseph T. Maziarz, Chief Counsel Criminal Appeals Attorneys for Appellee.

Roser Law Office St. Johns by Samuel J. Roser Attorney for Appellant Melchisedch Garcia Arellano Buckeye Appellant.

MEMORANDUM DECISION

SAMUEL A. THUMMA, Judge

¶1 This is an appeal under Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967) and State v. Leon, 104 Ariz. 297, 451 P.2d 878 (1969) . Counsel for defendant Melchisedch Garcia Arellano has advised the court that, after searching the entire record, he has been unable to discover any arguable questions of law, and has filed a brief asking this court to conduct an Anders review of the record. In addition, Arellano has filed a pro se supplemental brief. Finding no error, Arellano's conviction and sentence are affirmed.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY[1]

¶2 Navajo County Sheriff Deputy Murray stopped Arellano for speeding. Deputy Murray issued Arellano a citation for speeding and for failing to have a valid driver's license and impounded the car. Arellano and passenger Zugey Castro-Moreno were then allowed to leave. During an inventory search, Deputy Murray saw in plain view duct tape, plastic baggies and nylon rope, items that he knew to be indicators of drug trafficking. Deputy Murray then walked his certified narcotics dog around the car. The dog alerted to the exterior and to the center console area inside the car. Deputies then conducted a videotaped search of the car and discovered 5.2 pounds of methamphetamine underneath the center console.

¶3 The next day, Arellano and Castro-Moreno were arrested when they arrived at the Sheriff's Office to claim the car. During searches incident to those arrests, Navajo County Sheriff Deputy Robertson found a $2 bill in Arellano's wallet and, in Castro-Moreno's purse, found a $2 bill, several Saint Jude cards and a Santa Marta card. Deputy Robertson recognized all of the items to be indicia of drug trafficking.

¶4 Arellano was charged with one count of Transportation of a Dangerous Drug for Sale, a Class 2 felony. At trial, Deputies Murray and Robertson testified as did Castro-Moreno, who had accepted a plea agreement. After the close of the evidence and closing arguments, the eight-person jury deliberated and found Arellano guilty as charged. Arellano received a mitigated sentence of five years in prison, with 406 days of presentence incarceration credit, and the court imposed a $150, 000 fine.

¶5 Arellano timely appealed his conviction and sentence. This court has jurisdiction pursuant to Article 6, Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) sections 12-120.21(A)(1), 13-4031, and -4033(A)(1).[2]

DISCUSSION[3]

I. Impound And Subsequent Search Of The Car.

¶6 Arellano first argues the State illegally impounded his car when the deputy did not let the passenger who had a license drive the car after the stop. State law mandates an officer impound a vehicle if the driver does not have a valid driver's license; however the officer may not impound the vehicle if the driver's spouse is a passenger with a valid license. See A.R.S. ยง 28-3511 (A)(2), (D), (E) . Here, the deputy properly impounded the car because ...


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