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CEDAR CITY — An early morning traffic stop on Interstate 15 ended up netting the Iron County Sheriff’s Office 24 pounds of cocaine, a drug that authorities say is beginning to make a comeback.
Jesus Ochoa-Pérez, 34, is was arrested Tuesday morning and is facing a second-degree felony for possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, a third-degree felony for possession of cocaine, a class B misdemeanor for possession of paraphernalia and two traffic violations for impeding traffic and unsafe lane travel.
Ochoa-Pérez was allegedly carrying 24 pounds, 8 kilos, of cocaine when he was originally stopped at about 2 a.m. at milepost 62. The drugs, valued on the street for around $250,000, were being transported via the I-15 “pipeline” from Mexico to Illinois with a stop in between at San Jose, California, authorities said.
Since the drugs were allegedly transported across state lines, the Drug Enforcement Administration is likely to handle the criminal charges, Iron County Sheriff’s Deputy Wade Lee said.
In the last 10 years, the streets have been inundated with drugs like methamphetamines and heroin, but authorities said they have recently begun to see more cocaine making its way through the pipeline.
“It’s definitely on the rise,” Lee said. “We’re seeing more of it than we’ve seen in years and years. It’s concerning.”