PRESCOTT, AZ - Two Colorado men are in custody after authorities discovered 16 pounds of methamphetamine hidden in their vehicle during a traffic stop on Interstate 17 in northern Arizona.
Darren Keller, 23, and Jose Ramirez, 22, were stopped around 9 a.m. on Tuesday for equipment and moving violations.
The two told a Yavapai County Sheriff's deputy they were on the way home to Colorado from Phoenix.
Keller, the driver, gave the deputy permission to search the car where he found a bag of marijuana in the passenger seat pocket. Neither Keller nor Ramirez had medical marijuana cards, according to the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office.
The deputy had his K9 partner check the exterior of the vehicle and the dog indicated the presence of drugs near the rear driver's side.
When the deputy checked it out, he found a spot covered with fresh body putty and paint. In addition, the wheel had been recently painted and showed little dirt or wear, according to YCSO.
The deputy checked further by removing some of the putty and found a compartment that extended to the opposite wheel well.
Inside the compartment the deputy found nine wrapped packages of methamphetamine weighing 16 pounds and worth more than $150,000.
Nearly $3,500 in cash was also seized.
Keller and Ramirez denied knowing about the methamphetamine.
Both were booked into the Camp Verde Detention Center on charges including transportation of dangerous drugs for sale and possession of dangerous drugs for sale.
Each remains in custody on a $100,000 bond.