Police: ‘Large amount’ of cocaine found during traffic stop on I-15 in Southern Utah

Utah Highway Patrol vehicles, Cedar City, Utah, July 2018 | File photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

ST. GEORGE — Two sisters are in jail – one on charges of involvement in alleged drug trafficking – after police say they found four pounds of cocaine during a recent traffic stop on Interstate 15 in Iron County.

Rosa Godines, 33, of Los Angeles, booking photo posted in Iron County, Utah, Feb. 23, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Iron County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News / Cedar City News

The sisters, 33-year-old Rosa Godines, of Los Angeles, and 23-year-old Jazmin Sevila Garcia, of Compton, California, were traveling in separate vehicles when they were arrested Saturday afternoon on northbound I-15 after initially being pulled over for speeding violations.

Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Ryan Bauer said Godines was going about 84 mph when he pulled her over. Bauer called for the assistance of another trooper to also pull over Garcia for speeding when he realized the women were traveling together.

As Bauer and the other trooper spoke with the women, he said he and his fellow officer became suspicious when the women were unable to give straight answers to basic questions about where they were going.

“Basically, simple questions that they couldn’t answer about ownership of the cars and their trip – it just didn’t add up,” Bauer told St. George News.

Godines consented to a search of her vehicle, according to the probable cause statement written in support of her arrest.

“During a search, an after market manufactured compartment was located behind the rear seat,” Bauer wrote in the statement. “Inside of this compartment 3 packages of a large amount of suspected cocaine was located.”

The total weight of the packages was 4.02 pounds, according to the statement. A field test performed on the substance allegedly tested positive for cocaine.

Acting on suspicion that Garcia was also involved in the alleged criminal activity, troopers called for a drug-sniffing K-9 unit to assist in a search of the other vehicle.

Jazmin Sevila Garcia, 23, of Compton, Calif., booking photo posted in Iron County, Utah, Feb. 23, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Iron County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News / Cedar City News

After obtaining permission to search Garcia’s vehicle, Bauer stated that the K-9 “indicated positively for the odor of narcotics on the vehicle.”

Troopers also found a similar aftermarket compartment suspected of being used to conceal contraband. While no drugs were found in the vehicle, Bauer stated that the combination of the dog alert and the aftermarket compartment led troopers to believe that Garcia’s vehicle was also used to transport illegal substances.

Both women were then arrested and transported to Iron County Jail.

Godines faces a second-degree felony charge of possession of an illegal substance with intent to distribute. She was also charged with three misdemeanors, including drug possession, paraphernalia possession and altering a vehicle compartment for contraband. Garcia was charged with one class A misdemeanor count of altering a vehicle compartment for contraband.

Bauer told St. George News the 4 pounds of cocaine allegedly found in Godines’ possession has an approximate street value of $200,000-300,000.

“After they cut it with something, it could be worth quite a bit more than that,” he noted.

Bauer said drug busts such as these are a regular occurrence for troopers on I-15.

“We get many on that scale and bigger – it’s pretty common,” he said.

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