St. George Police arrest man accused in brutal beating of 3 men in northern Utah

Stock image | Photo by MattGush/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A Salt Lake City man is being held without bail after officers allegedly found a large amount of narcotics in the suspect’s vehicle, as well as a warrant issued up north relating to the brutal beating of three young men during a house party last summer.

On Sunday shortly after midnight, officers responded to a suspicious person’s call reported at a restaurant on Main Street in St. George. When they pulled into the parking lot, an officers noticed four men inside of a vehicle parked to the north of the building, according to charging documents filed with 5th District Court in St. George.

As soon as the men saw police, the officer noted, they walked into the restaurant. A registration check on the vehicle revealed the car was registered to 25-year-old Ryan Cahouet of Salt Lake City, who had an active warrant for his arrest in connection with a case filed up north involving aggravated assault and riot charges.

The suspect was detained and during a search of his person prior to transport, the report states that officers found a plastic baggie containing MDMA or “Molly,” a schedule I controlled substance. Looking through the car window, an officer noticed a Smith and Wesson 9 mm handgun with a silencer attached to the barrel on the floorboard behind the driver’s seat, along with a large bag of what appeared to be marijuana.

A subsequent search of the vehicle yielded a small cardboard box containing a white powder substance consistent with at least 4-6 ounces of cocaine, along with a digital scale with white drug residue on it and dozens of clean plastic baggies, evidence that led officers to believe, the report states, that the suspect was involved with the distribution of narcotics.

Ryan Joseph Cahouet, 25, of Salt Lake City, booking photo taken in Washington County, Utah, Jan. 9, 2021 | Booking photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Officers also recovered two plastic bags containing psilocybin mushrooms, a schedule I drug, as well as a bag containing “hash,” a form of marijuana wax in the center console.

During a search of the truck, officers found three additional plastic bags (containing raw marijuana) that were the same size as the one located in the passenger compartment. Altogether, more than a pound of marijuana was reportedly recovered from the car.

The amount of marijuana recovered was “at least 10 times the amount that would be considered for just person use,” the officer noted in the report.

Officers spoke to the three males traveling with the suspect, two of whom were juveniles, that had traveled to California with Cahouet and were returning to Utah.

The warrant issued out of Salt Lake City is in connection with a case filed in August that involved three young men who were beaten severely during a house party that took place Aug. 26.

On the night in question, the get together was just winding down when a large group of people, 30-40 of them, entered the home uninvited and then refused to leave when asked, according to charging documents filed in 3rd District Court in Salt Lake City.

As the occupants of the home attempted to shuffle the crowd out the door, one of the occupants was struck on the back of the head and then assaulted in the front entrance of the residence.

When he regained consciousness, the report states, he saw his brother, who had been dragged out of the house moments earlier, being kicked and stomped on by several suspects outside in the front lawn area. The sustained attack continued while the man ran outside from the entryway and placed his body over his badly beaten brother’s body to protect from the sustained attack.

Moments later, several individuals who arrived with the group intervened and helped both of the occupants up so they could return to the house, but as they did so, one of the injured men noticed a third guest lying near the bushes who was also badly beaten. The men retrieved their friend and ran inside of the house, but before they could close and lock the door, several of the suspects rushed the men and attempted to force their way back into the residence as the occupants pushed on the door to keep it shut, according to reports.

One of the suspects then punched through the glass in the entrance door while a second suspect threw a metal sprinkler key through the front window, shattering both.

Then the suspects fled, a number of whom drove off in a Mercedes that was noticed by one of the witnesses who was able to write down the license plate number, which was later provided to police.

The report also states that one of the suspects returned to the residence following the incident to retrieve her cell phone after she tracked in back to the home using GPS.

Through the course of the investigation, officers obtained a number of photos and videos taken at the time of the incident and then posted on social media, including videos showing the suspects kicking and stomping the victims in the front yard. Coupled with the license plate number, officers were able to identify three of the suspects involved, one of whom was Cahouet.

Purgatory Correctional Facility, Hurricane, Utah, Oct. 21, 2020 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Detectives also received information from physicians at the University of Utah Medical Center where the three injured men were treated for multiple injuries, advising that each of the men also sustained a concussion during the attack, according to court records.

Cahouet, and three other suspects, were charged with felony aggravated assault and rioting and were summoned to appear in 3rd District Court in Salt Lake City. When Cahouet failed to appear for that hearing set for Dec. 14, a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Back in St. George, officers transported the suspect to Purgatory Correctional Facility early Sunday morning where he faces five felony charges, including two second-degree felony counts of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, possession of a firearm by a restricted person, cause-permit a child or vulnerable adult to be exposed to a controlled substance and transporting prohibited items into a correctional facility, each a third-degree felony.

He also faces three misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled substance and one count of possession of paraphernalia.

The suspect is being held on the current offenses as well as the warrant issued out of Salt Lake City and remains in custody without bail.

This report is based on statements from court records, police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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