Editor’s Note: Thursday, the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office decline prosecution of this case pending more investigation by Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office deputies. Here is a link to the updated story:
VERDE VILLAGE – What began as a theft investigation in Cornville has led to the arrest of three people in Verde Village, two for the alleged manufacture of an oil-based form of marijuana known as butane hash oil.
According to a news release from Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office Media Relations Coordinator Dwight D’Evelyn, in late October, Yavapai county Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to a theft incident that occurred in the 11000 block of Adams Road in Cornville. According to the release, the victim had been gone for several weeks and upon returning home found numerous custom wood products missing including hand-cut tables, headboards, and wood slabs valued at several thousand dollars.
Additionally, expensive power tools were missing.
When asked who he suspected may have stolen the items, the victim said “Greg Jay,” who was a business associate from the past. The victim also noted that he saw what he believed was one of his stolen wood slabs on Jay’s social media page.
The next day, deputies met with 54-year-old Gregory Jay in the 4500 block of Western Drive in Verde Village. Jay denied any involvement in the burglary and would not address issues regarding content on his social media account.
As the investigation continued into December, deputies were contacted by the victim with new information, including a social media photo of Jay with a wood slab clearly visible in the background. The unique features of the slab were identified by the victim as belonging to one of the slabs reported stolen.
Deputies continued their follow-up, conferred with YCSO detectives and a search warrant was obtained for a business in the 2500 block of Union Drive. Jay was known to live on this property in a converted school bus.
On January 11, deputies, detectives and evidence technicians served the warrant. Once on the premises, deputies contacted and detained Jay and 30-year-old Monica Johnson with her 3-year-old daughter. All were living in the bus. Arriving later and also detained was 26-year-old Justin Jay, previously identified as a suspect.
Deputies immediately located two of the stolen wooden slabs inside a business portion of the building, D’Evelyn reported.
While searching the building and bus, said, D’Evelyn, deputies found large amounts of drug paraphernalia containing marijuana residue including bongs and pipes. It also appeared the suspects were manufacturing an oil-based form of marijuana known as butane hash oil. Marijuana trimmings are put into a holding container with butane pushed through until only the butane escapes and the plant matter remains.
“This process allows for the cannabinoids to be removed from the marijuana by pumping the butane through the holding container,” the news release stated. “It becomes a liquid mixture of butane and marijuana, which is then evaporated in an attempt to remove the harmful substances resulting in a waxy or honey-like substance. This is a very dangerous procedure because any flame in the area could quickly ignite the butane.”
D’Evelyn said the manufacturing operation was evident in the both the building and bus where the 3-year-old child was living. Under current living conditions in the bus, many drug-related items were within reach of the child. A representative from the Department of Child Safety arrived and took custody of the child.
Based on the investigation, the three adults detained were arrested and booked at the Camp Verde Detention Center. The charges are as follows:
Gregory Jay – Possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a narcotic drug, manufacturing a narcotic drug, theft, endangerment and child abuse. He has since been released on a $5000 bond.
Monica Johnson - Possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a narcotic drug, manufacturing a narcotic drug, theft, endangerment, and child abuse. She has been released on a promise to appear.
Justin Jay – A charge of theft. He has since been released on a promise to appear.
The investigation is ongoing.
Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260 or the YCSO website: www.ycsoaz.gov