Authorities intercept over $2 million worth of meth, heroin in Washington County

Utah Highway Patrol stock image | St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Authorities in Washington County intercepted approximately 25 pounds of methamphetamine and 4 pounds of heroin with a combined estimated street value of more than $2 million during a traffic stop Sunday on Interstate 15.

Arturo De Paz, of Riverside, California, booking photo posted Feb. 4, 2018 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

At 10:09 a.m. Sunday, a Utah Highway Patrol trooper stopped a vehicle for illegal window tint on northbound I-15 near milepost 1, just past the Utah-Arizona border, according to a probable cause statement filed by UHP officials in support of the arrest.

The trooper spoke with the driver identified as Arturo De Paz, of Riverside, California, the trooper wrote in the sworn statement, noting:

Neither the driver or passenger could provide registration or insurance documents for the car. Instead, they provided a receipt from a dealership.

After authorities found discrepancies in De Paz’s and the passenger’s story regarding their travel plans, they asked for and received consent to search the vehicle, the report states.

“I located 28 bundles of suspected narcotics hidden throughout the vehicle,” the trooper wrote. “The bundles were in many different factory voids.”

After weighing and testing the bundles, authorities recorded 25 pounds of meth and 4 pounds of heroin, according to the statement.

De Paz claimed ownership of the drugs and told officials the passenger had no knowledge of the drugs, the report states.

De Paz also told officials he had meth in his sock, the report states, and that he had instructed the passenger to break his pipe as they were being pulled over, leading officials to believe he had recently used drugs.

In addition to being issued a warning for his window tint, De Paz was arrested and transported to the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.

The Washington County Attorney’s Office filed an information in 5th District Court accusing De Paz of two second-degree felony counts of drug possession with the intent to distribute, along with two class B misdemeanor counts of possession of drug paraphernalia and driving with a measurable controlled substance.

Officials said they expect the incident will become a federal case.

De Paz appeared before 5th District Judge Jeffrey Wilcox for his initial appearance Monday. Wilcox ordered $10,000 bail for his release pending trial.

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • MCDavo February 9, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    Outstanding bust Trooper!

  • Kyle L. February 9, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    That is so stupid. The mexican is hauling 2 million worth of drugs and the judge sets his bail at $10,000. Am I the only one that thinks this is stupid as heck?

    • Robert February 9, 2018 at 6:37 pm

      You know the cartel lawyers will have him out over the weekend with a 10K bail and back in Mexico by Monday to face the cartel

      • Striker4 February 9, 2018 at 8:45 pm

        Hes already back in mexico

    • Striker4 February 9, 2018 at 6:59 pm

      I have seen worse crimes than this reported and bail was lower than $10,000

  • Striker4 February 9, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    Kudos to local law enforcement

  • ladybugavenger February 9, 2018 at 7:50 pm

    Dreamers, doing jobs Americans don’t want to do ?

    • mesaman February 9, 2018 at 8:35 pm

      Well stated.

    • Striker4 February 9, 2018 at 8:44 pm

      Well I refuse to be a big time drug dealer.let them do it lol !

  • utahdiablo February 9, 2018 at 8:44 pm

    Ahhh, good ol’ Riverside California….just another poor immigrant trying to provide for his family huh? You all better wake the hell up before it’s too late…oh, that’s right, it already is….enjoy the future folks, you asked for it

  • and February 9, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    “In addition to being issued a warning for his window tint”

    Hahahahaha ! 25 pounds of meth and 4 pounds of heroin and a warning for window tint. I love this place.

    • NickDanger February 10, 2018 at 5:03 am

      It was a written warning too. That means next time he gets pulled over, it’s a ticket.

      • Harold S. February 11, 2018 at 10:27 pm

        That’s because the first time you get pulled over its a mandatory warning, just like Utah’s seat belt law.

  • Honor1st February 10, 2018 at 3:53 am

    That size of a haul and the type of concealment suggests
    cartel set up with low paid semi-clueless mules to deliver the vehicle to someone else .

  • jh9000 February 10, 2018 at 5:44 am

    Maybe if your kids would quit buying meth and heroin busts like this wouldn’t be happening.

    • Striker4 February 10, 2018 at 9:35 am

      Well if your kids would stop buying it. It would help as well

  • Harold S. February 11, 2018 at 10:25 pm

    Wow, This guy was hauling more 2 million dollars worth of drugs and gets cut loose for only $10,000. That’s a drop in the bucket for these mules. Only in America who pretends to be fighting this drug war.

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