Gila County Sheriff's Office Sergeant Travis Baxley received the Quarterly Officer Recognition Award from Daisy Flores, Gila County Attorney
Four times each year, the Gila County Attorney’s Office recognizes a member of the Gila County Law Enforcement community for his/her superior service in the prosecution of criminal matters. The County Attorney reviews numerous recommendations, but selects the officer who at the time best illustrates an exemplary attitude and work ethic.
Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores recognized Sergeant Travis Baxley on October 9, 2012, from the Gila County Sheriff’s Office, as the Officer of the Quarter for his recent work on one of the largest methamphetamine busts ever in Gila County.
Sergeant Travis Baxley started his career with the Gila County Sheriff’s Office on October 1, 1990, and became a K-9 Officer on July 30, 2001. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant on October 29, 2007. Sgt. Baxley is a twenty-one year law enforcement veteran with eleven years experience on the Gila County Narcotics Task Force. He was observing traffic on highway 60 just Northeast of Globe on February 28, 2012, when he noticed a jeep with New Mexico plates travelling toward Show Low following too closely to the truck in front of it. Sgt. Baxley stopped the jeep and wrote the driver Sammy Lee Mitchell, a warning. Mitchell consented to a pat down search and Baxley discovered a meth pipe and a small amount of methamphetamine in his pocket.
Sgt. Baxley was suspicious of Mitchell and decided to investigate further. He tapped on each tire while listening to the tire with a stethoscope to try to detect whether anything was inside. He noticed a different sound when he tapped the spare tire and suspected that something illegal was inside the tire. Upon removing the tire from its rim, he discovered five carefully wrapped one pound hidden bundles of methamphetamine.
The five pounds of methamphetamine seized from the spare tire represent one of the largest, if not the largest, methamphetamine bust ever in Gila County. The street value of the methamphetamine would be between $180,000.00 and $360,000.00. At trial, a Department of Public Safety expert testified that the five pounds of methamphetamine would have been sufficient to get methamphetamine abusers high around 28,000 times. Mitchell was convicted at trial and his jeep was forfeited to the Sheriff’s Office.
Sgt. Baxley also had an interdiction case in 2010 involving 5 gallons of PCP valued at over $160,000 and over a ton of marijuana in 2006. He also donates time to several organizations with K-9 demonstrations and to training K-9 dogs from other law enforcement agencies.
Sgt. Travis Baxley is a shining example of excellent law enforcement, poise and work ethic. It is with great honor that Gila County Attorney’s Office acknowledges Sgt. Baxley and we commend for him for the hard work and dedication to our community.