Suspect still at large after high-speed chase reveals drugs, guns
By Cindy Yurth
CHINLE, July 13, 2012
One suspect was arrested and another was still at large as of Friday evening after a wild, high-speed chase up the winding Buffalo Pass road ended in the confiscation of a large amounts of marijuana and methamphetamine as well as multiple firearms.
Navajo Nation Police Officer Gilbert Yazzie said Lt. Dempsey Harvey was patrolling Navajo Route 12 near Tsaile at about 8 p.m. Thursday when he observed a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed.
He attempted to pull the vehicle over but instead it took off toward Shiprock over Buffalo Pass. Harvey called for backup and was joined by a criminal investigator who was in the area.
“The suspect vehicle slid off the road but remained upright,” Yazzie said. “Two Hispanic males jumped out. The driver took off with a duffel bag and the passenger took off in a different direction.”
By this time more officers had arrived and gave chase through a rugged, wooded area. The two men escaped but the officers found the duffel bag, which was full of drugs and firearms.
The officers continued the search but could not find the suspects. At about 3:30 a.m., residents in the area called the Shiprock police station to report a barefoot Hispanic male had showed up at their remote home asking for a drink of water.
Police arrived and arrested Eddie Clayton Thomas, age unknown, of Laveen, Ariz. He will appear in U.S. District Court Monday on charges of drug and firearm possession.
Yazzie said that if Thomas’ companion is also barefoot, he probably didn’t get far, and residents in the area should be on high alert.
“We want to arrest this guy, but we’re also concerned about him,” Yazzie said. “We want to find him before he gets dehydrated.”
He added that the Navajo Nation Drug and Gang Unit is investigating the case and trying to determine whether the men have ties to organized crime.
“Based on the amount of drugs we found, we suspect these guys may be higher-ups in a large drug-running organization,” Yazzie said.