Meth-delivery road trip from Phoenix to Boise goes awry

Call them the gang that couldn’t deliver drugs straight.

When John Michael “Miklo” Rohrback arranged last spring to send two pounds of methamphetamine to Idaho from Phoenix, he hired two mules to deliver the drugs. They agreed to accept $500 apiece for the 922-mile trek.

Here’s what authorities say happened next:

Matthew Taylor and Jaime McArdle left Phoenix in the middle of the night on March 24, 2014, in a gold Chevy Impala supplied by Rohrback. Early the next evening, near Wells, Nev., 244 miles short of Boise, a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper pulled them over for speeding.

Taylor, 26, of Mesa, Ariz., was taken to jail on an outstanding warrant. The Impala was impounded. But police didn’t know there was meth inside.

McArdle, 22, of Mesa, Ariz., called Rohrback, who dispatched two couriers with cash to get the car out of impound. They were James R. Arias, 32, of Olivehurst, Calif., and Destiny A. Danburg, 28, of Conchoa, Colo. While Taylor remained in jail, Arias and Danburg picked up McArdle and paid for the car’s release. The next day, the three of them resumed the voyage to Idaho.

They arrived in Ada County that night. Trooper Justin Klitch of the Idaho State Police saw them. Danburg, the driver, had failed to signal. What’s more, the Impala’s window tint was too dark to meet Idaho law’s requirement for visibility.

He pulled over the Impala. When Klitch asked the trio where they were going, they said they had come to Idaho to attend a funeral.

Klitch then asked where their luggage was. They had none. The trooper separated them for questioning. They gave conflicting stories. He noted that each had dilated, glassy eyes, suggesting drug use.

Klitch called for a drug detection dog to be brought to the scene. The dog sniffed around and detected drugs in the trunk. Police found the methamphetamine in two plastic bags inside a secret compartment in a cooler.

Arias, McArdle and Danburg told Klitch they knew that they were transporting meth to Idaho.

So ended their effort at crime for profit. All five defendants have since pleaded guilty to conspiracy and attempt to possess methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. Other conspiracy and possession charges were dropped in exchange for their guilty pleas.

On Thursday, Arias was sentenced to three years in prison. McArdle was placed on probation for three years. Danburg is facing sentencing.

Rohrback, 31, of Mesa, Ariz., is scheduled to be sentenced June 9, and Taylor on June 27.