LAKEPORT, LAKE COUNTY – Once again a traffic stop for defective equipment resulted in a couple arrested on drug charges, though it seems likely that just the act of driving under the influence would have given them away sooner or later.
On Thursday afternoon last week, on February 6, a burgundy sedan traveling down Main Street caught the eye of a Lake County Sheriff’s Narcotics Task Force detective. According to Steve Brooks of the Sheriff’s Department, the detective saw that the left brake and turn signal lights were not functioning. He initiated a traffic stop at 15th Street and Main, and approached the passenger side of the car.
The detective recognized the woman in the car as someone he had been in contact with before as a methamphetamine user and seller. She was identified as 28-year-old Ashley Nicole Saxon of nearby Clearlake. Her most recent arrest had been just in September, though at that time she listed her residence in Kelseyville, another town on Clear Lake between Lakeport and Clearlake. Central Sheriff’s Dispatch confirmed that she was on searchable probation, and Ms. Saxon said she knew.
Saxon showed signs that she was currently under the influence of what the detective described as a central nervous system stimulant. She said that she had indeed smoked some meth the day before, at 10 in the morning. The detective administered tests as well, which confirmed her intoxication. They conducted a brief search of her and placed her in the back of the patrol car under arrest of being under the influence of a controlled substance.
Turning attention to the driver, the detective spoke with 34-year-old Michael Brandon Jaco of Kelseyville. Jaco said his license was suspended when asked for ID, and admitted he had a meth pipe with him in the car, tucked next to the driver’s seat. The pipe was collected as evidence, while the detective noted Jaco’s condition as matching that of his companion. The young man admitted he had also smoked some meth, but it was a full three days ago. He failed the field drug tests as well, and joined Ashley Saxon in being arrested for being under the influence, possessing paraphernalia, and driving with a suspended license.
Ms. Saxon was, however, not sitting quietly in the back of the car. The detectives noted that she was moving around quite a bit while they dealt with Jaco. Their attention drawn, they saw that she had been trying to use her feet to push a plastic bag under the squad car’s security cage. She was taken out of the car, and the bag carefully removed. It contained white crystal meth, 35.9 grams or 1.27 ounces, which has a street value estimated to be $3600.00. She adamantly denied that it was hers, but the detectives deduced, based on her history, that she had had it concealed on her “in an area where a female deputy would be required to search” when she was booked at the jail.
The detectives’ conclusions were probably based at least in part on a 2011 arrest, when Saxon and her then boyfriend Manuel Vincent Sotelo were arrested driving near Soda Bay on the shore of Clear Lake in Kelseyville. They were detained due to an active search warrant on Sotelo’s home based on his status as a parolee for narcotics. They were found driving and detained, when she apparently tried to hide a small bag of meth. A subsequent search also revealed a meth pipe hidden in her clothing, according to an earlier Sheriff’s press release. At that time, one ounce of meth and $2201.00 in cash were seized as drug trafficking profits.
The pair were booked at Lake County’s Hill Road Correctional Facility, and Saxon had charges of possession of a controlled substance for sale, transportation of a controlled substance, and concealing evidence added on to her list.
Lake County Record-Bee (2011): Two arrested, drugs seized