ST. GEORGE — A Colorado couple was arrested Saturday after Washington County Sheriff’s deputies allegedly recovered more than 80 pounds of methamphetamine from their vehicle during a late-night traffic stop – the largest of two drug seizures to take place on Interstate 15 within hours of each other.
Shortly before midnight on Saturday, a deputy with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office stopped a vehicle heading north on I-15 near mile marker 7 in St. George for expired registration.
The driver, 39-year-old Tyler Bowers, told the deputy they were driving a rental car and were returning from a trip to California to their home to Denver, Colorado, according to charging documents filed with the court.
According to the report, when Bowers was unable to find his driver’s license, he held up “a large cocktail-style drink” and informed the deputy the car was rented in the passenger’s name, 38-year-old Felicia Bowers, also of Denver, Colorado, who was too intoxicated to drive after drinking in Las Vegas, which he said is why he was behind the wheel when they were stopped. The deputy noticed the cocktail container still had liquid in it, the reports states, and he informed the driver it was against the law to have an open container of alcohol in the vehicle.
A second deputy arrived minutes later and approached the car from the driver’s side where he “immediately” smelled an odor of burnt marijuana coming from the car, the report states. When he looked inside he could see a plastic bag tucked underneath a lighter near the door handle that appeared to contain a tar-like substance consistent with heroin, police say, which is when the couple was told the car would be searched and both exited the vehicle.
During the search deputies allegedly found several partially smoked marijuana cigarettes in a cup holder near the center console and a small baggie of marijuana and a grinder in the glove box. They also noticed there were green flakes scattered across the floorboards.
In the trunk, deputies located two cardboard boxes and inside the smaller box they found three packages and inside each they found a large plastic bag of a white crystalized powder consistent with methamphetamine, according to the report.
Police say the larger box contained 27 plastic bags filled with the same substance packaged in a similar fashion that also contained the same powdery substance.
During a more thorough search of a luggage bag located on the back seat filled with men’s clothing, the report says deputies recovered a plastic bag containing a large round ball of a brown tar-like substance that was about the size of a golf ball and a number of unused syringes.
The driver told deputies they went to a pre-arranged meeting in California to pick up the boxes from someone, and explained he didn’t know what was contained in the boxes but thought “it was likely heroin,” the officer noted in the report.
The packages came back positive for methamphetamine during a field test and the dark ball tested positive for heroin, according to the report, adding that the tests conducted on the recovered marijuana also came back positive.
The amount of meth seized from the trunk was weighed in the packaging and totaled 81 pounds, while the heroin weighed in at 24 grams, more than what a typical heroin user would have in his possession for personal use, according to the report.
Washington County Sheriff’s Lt. Dave Crouse told St. George News the purchase price in Los Angeles for a pound of meth is roughly $2,500 per pound. When the 81 pounds is broken down into grams for street-level sales then the value of the seizure depending on current street prices can be as high as $2.9 million, he said.
Both suspects were arrested and transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility shortly before 3 a.m. on Sunday where they were booked on second-degree felony possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance and paraphernalia charges.
Tyler Bowers also faces an additional count of distribution for the heroin allegedly found in his luggage as well as a citation for having expired registration.
Felicia Bowers also faces a misdemeanor open container of alcohol charge.
Both suspects are being held without bail, according to the bail order signed by District Judge Keith Barnes late Sunday night.
Felicia Bowers was booked into jail under the name of Felicia Buckley, however, the charges were filed under the last name of Bowers.
This was the second large seizure of meth recovered by authorities on I-15 over the weekend. Less than three hours after the Bowers were booked into jail, another vehicle was stopped by a Utah Highway Patrol Trooper who reportedly recovered 10 pounds of methamphetamine hidden in the trunk of the vehicle and arrested three suspects from Colorado Springs, Colorado, who were reportedly on their way home from Nevadal.
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