SPANISH FORK — A Salt Lake City man who was a part of a narcotics investigation was arrested Saturday, and more than $850,000 worth of drugs was discovered in his car, authorities said.
Jose Olegario Lopez, 44, was arrested and booked into the Utah County Jail on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute, failure to stop at an officer’s command, child endangerment and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to jail records. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials added that Lopez was living in the U.S. illegally, the jail records said.
Sheriff’s officials said 16.7 pounds of methamphetamine, with a street value of more than $750,000, and 2.35 pounds of cocaine, with a street value worth more than $106,000, were found in Lopez’s vehicle during a traffic stop Saturday. A jail report filed in his arrest stated the worth of each drug was estimated from the current street price of $10 for 1/10 gram.
The Utah County Special Enforcement team and Utah County Major Crimes officials had been tracking Lopez as a part of a narcotics investigation after they discovered he sold “extremely large quantities of illicit controlled narcotics,” according to a jail report. The report stated undercover detectives had purchased drugs from Lopez as a part of the investigation.
The investigative team found Lopez had left Utah for an unknown reason and followed him as he traveled overnight to California. When he returned to Utah County Saturday afternoon, authorities attempted to pull him over for a traffic violation near Benjamin, according to the report.
Lopez continued driving north on I-15 until an unmarked police vehicle pulled in front of his vehicle and used emergency equipment to attempt to stop him, the report said. Other unmarked police vehicles boxed Lopez in and forced him to stop, the report added.
He was taken into custody, and a small baggie filled with a white substance, which tested positive for cocaine, was found in his pants pocket, according to the report. A Spanish Fork police K-9 indicated drugs were inside the vehicle during the stop, the report added.
According to the report, detectives located a box in the trunk of the car that was taped shut.
“The box was opened. Inside, detectives located numerous vacuum packaged bags. The bags contained a white crystalline substance. The substance was field tested and tested positive for methamphetamine,” the jail report stated. “The box also contained several larger ‘bricks’ of an unknown substance. The packages were opened and it was found they also contained a white crystalline substance. The substance was field tested and tested positive for methamphetamine.”
Authorities said Lopez's 16-year-old son was in the vehicle with him at the time of the arrest. Detectives didn’t believe the teen was tied to the drugs found in the vehicle, and he was returned to his mother.
Utah County Major Crimes detectives also contacted Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, who stated Lopez had contacts in Sinaloa, Mexico, and had violated re-entry to the county eight times, the report added.
Court records show Lopez had no previous criminal history in Utah.