Passenger arrested when car search in Washington City reportedly nets a half pound of meth

Stock image by Cody Blowers, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A St. George man was charged Monday with felony drug distribution following a previous traffic stop in Washington City when police reportedly found illegal substances during a vehicle search.

Brandon Michael Clove, 31, of St. George, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Nov. 20, 2020 | Booking photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

The incident began Friday afternoon when a Washington City patrol officer stopped a vehicle on Red Cliffs Drive after a records check revealed the registered owner had a driver’s license that was suspended out of California, according to charging documents filed with the courts.

During the stop, the driver told police he had recently been cited for the same violation and asked if the passenger sitting next to him could drive the car for him. The officer responded by saying that as long as the passenger had a valid license, he could drive the car, which would prevent it from being impounded.

When the officer ran the passenger’s driver’s license, belonging to 31-year-old Brandon Clove, to verify if it was valid, it came back as suspended and also revealed that Clove had four active warrants for his arrest.

Since neither had a valid driver’s license, both men were asked to exit the vehicle, the report states, and additional units were called to assist while a search of the vehicle ensued.

During the search, officers found an unlabeled prescription bottle containing 90 amphetamine-dextroamphetamine pills, a Schedule II narcotic, inside a grocery bag located on the passenger’s side floorboard, where Clove was sitting minutes before.

Inside the passenger’s side door, officers found a rectangular pill that turned out to be a Xanax bar, and inside the trunk they found a green bag with multiple pockets that police learned later reportedly belonged to Clove.

Inside of the bag, officers found a green leafy substance consistent with marijuana, a clear plastic box containing THC wax, a scale and a number of Ziploc baggies.

A “large amount” of a white crystalized substance suspected to be methamphetamine was also found inside a silver box and later estimated to weigh more than half a pound. Police also found a second large plastic bag containing 20 Xanax bars, as well as a number of blow torches and other drug paraphernalia.

According to the report, the driver told police that he was unaware that anything was inside the car except the prescription that he picked up to deliver to a friend. The driver was later issued a warning citation for driving on a suspended license.

Meanwhile, the report said Clove told officers that he picked up the methamphetamine from Las Vegas earlier that day for $4,000 and was planning on selling it locally for $4,800. He also reportedly told officers the Xanax bars, THC and marijuana recovered from the vehicle were for personal use only.

When asked about the prescription bottle found inside the grocery bag sitting on the floorboard, the suspect provided a similar account to Clove’s, saying he had picked up the prescription from his friend’s sister in a store parking lot in St. George and planned to deliver it to his friend later that day, according to the report.

With Clove claiming ownership of all of the items recovered from the vehicle by police, the driver was issued a warning citation for driving on a suspended license and was free to leave.

Clove was transported to the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility and booked into jail on the warrants and felony drug offenses.

Clove was charged Monday with two second-degree felony counts of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and one third-degree felony count of the same charge. He also faces misdemeanor possession of marijuana and paraphernalia charges and remains in custody on $17,160 bail.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!