FLORENCE — Marcus Payne, 27, was already sitting in jail, charged with burglary, theft and multiple drug possession and dealing charges. But then, he decided to call his girlfriend about picking up the drugs he had with him when he was booked into the Pinal County Adult Detention Center.

His phone call from jail only added several new drug charges to his growing rap sheet.

On July 24, Payne, of Oracle, was placed in the Pinal County jail, accused of three counts of second-degree burglary, two counts of theft and trafficking in stolen property, and four drug charges. On July 29, Payne allegedly made a suspicious phone call to his “girlfriend requesting collection of his property that is currently at the Pinal County Adult Detention Center,” according to court records.

During the call he requested that she “pick up all of his property” and that only she be the one who picked it up. Later in the same phone call, “Marcus (Payne) illustrates that there is ‘all quarter of it’ in his property,” according to court records.

Based on training, the astute sheriff’s deputy who was alerted to the call quickly identified the term “quarter” used in the phone call as a “common drug term used for weight of illicit drugs.”

Jail personnel were advised about the call and the same deputy went to the property area of the jail to examine Payne’s belongings.

The deputy identified the clothing Payne was wearing when he was booked into jail on July 24.

“I felt a substance in a sock. Subsequently, a K9 conducted an open air sniff and I was advised the K9 alerted to the same sock. Upon a search of the sock, I observed a bag with a brown, powdery substance within a plastic bag that had .6 written on it,” the deputy wrote in the probable cause statement.

The deputy also found a white, glassy substance, “that I recognized as methamphetamine next to the heroin.”

For his phone call from the county jail, Payne was charged on Aug. 1 with five counts of introduction of contraband, possession of narcotics for sale, three counts of possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a dangerous drug.

All of the charges against him were combined into four plea agreements that he is to be sentenced for on Aug. 13. Three of the four plea arrangements were signed the day after he was caught with the drugs at the Pinal County jail.

In the agreements, Payne is pleading guilty to possession of a dangerous drug-meth, second-degree burglary, possession of a narcotic drug-heroin, possession of drug paraphernalia and promoting prison contraband-meth.

Based on all of the plea deals, Payne will likely serve four years in prison under concurrent sentences, two years on the new drug charges that are to be sentenced consecutively with the first sentence, and then five years probation, if the judge agrees with the recommendations.

The plea agreements were signed on July 30 and Aug. 6. The second agreement includes the charges Payne accrued when a sheriff’s deputy found heroin and meth in his sock at the jail on July 29, meaning the new felony charges against him went from being filed to plea agreement in eight days.

“It is hard to say that this is normal, but this is an unusual situation,” said Pinal County Attorney Kent Volkmer. “What happened is that he kept getting out of custody and committing yet another felony. He would not show up to court and there was an active warrant for his arrest. When they went and arrested him, he had more drugs on him. He didn’t disclose it when he went to the jail. They did a pat-down after he got through everything. He brought them into the jail and they found them when he went through the scanner. There were a bunch of separate offenses created at separate times.”

Volkmer said Payne was charged for drugs officers found on him when he came into the jail, and was charged again for the drugs he had in his personal property at the jail.

“We know his criminal history,” Volkmer said. “Primarily he is first, and foremost, a drug addict. All of his behavior is addiction driven. It wasn’t a complete shock that he had additional drug cases. The thing that bothers me the most is he burglarized a house to feed his drug habit. It’s one thing to have drugs but it’s another to create victims to feed your habit.”

The county attorney said a number of plea deals that were already in the works when Payne came into the jail.

“They were comfortable moving forward when they were sure that this was the last case he had pending,” Volkmer said. “At the end of the day, he’s going to do about seven years in prison and then come out with a five-year probation period.”

Volkmer said the last set of drug charges added about two years to his already negotiated prison sentence in the first series of plea arrangements.

He said at trial Payne could be facing up to 50 years imprisonment.

“We tried to fashion a plea where he is being held accountable and would be given the opportunity if he is serious about getting clean,” Volkmer said. “He will be given that opportunity as opposed to sending him to prison for the rest of his life.”


Jim Headley is a reporter covering breaking news, crime and justice around Pinal County. He can be reached at jheadley@pinalcentral.com.