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Mark Wetzel, KSL TV

Utah troopers seize meth, marijuana valued at about $2M during busy few weeks

By Pat Reavy, KSL | Posted - Jun 17th, 2019 @ 12:47pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Highway Patrol troopers and the State Bureau of Investigation have been busy making large drug busts in recent weeks.

On May 26, a trooper stopped a pickup truck on I-15 in Iron County because the windows had an illegal tint. The trooper discovered that neither the driver nor his passenger had valid driver's licenses, according to a police affidavit filed in 5th District Court. A police K-9 was called to sniff the vehicle.

Investigators reported finding 14 pounds of methamphetamine in the vehicle.

"The 14 pounds of methamphetamine if sold at street value in Sioux City, Iowa, where the subjects said they were transporting it, has value of anywhere from $520,000 to $900,000," the report states.

The driver told investigators "that they were being paid $2,500 to drive the drugs from California to Sioux City, Iowa. He stated that earlier in the month they had been paid to drive three packages of suspected drugs from California to Texas," according to a search warrant affidavit.

Crystal Leanne Rizo, 38, and Eliuth Rizo Morales, 35, both of Sioux City, are each charged with drug distribution, a second-degree felony.

Three days earlier, on May 23, another vehicle was pulled over on I-15 in Iron County for speeding. The trooper noticed marijuana wax in plain sight and placed the driver and passenger under arrest, according to a Iron County Jail report.

A more extensive search of the vehicle resulted in investigators finding approximately 20 pounds of methamphetamine that the occupants were transporting to Nebraska, the report states.

"The value of the methamphetamine is approximately $906,000."

Adan Osvaldo Pavia, 22, of Inglewood, California, and Jesus Urvina Davila, 21, of Lawndale, California, were each charged with drug distribution, a second-degree felony.

On April 18, troopers pulled over a vehicle on I-80 in Summit County.

"In the rear cargo area I located two soft-side coolers containing marijuana shatter (wax or marijuana concentrates). The total weight of all of the shatter was approximately 23 pounds," according to a Summit County Jail report.

Gabriel David Kendall, 26, of Colorado, was arrested for investigation of felony drug distribution. According to a search warrant affidavit, Kendall claimed he found the THC shatter while hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park.

"While at the park he told me that he found the THC shatter off of a trail. He didn’t know what trail that he found the THC shatter. Gabriel stated that he believed the items were THC shatter, and was going to take it to Colorado to get it tested," the warrant states.

UHP Lt. Nick Street acknowledged that a lot of cases culminated in recent weeks with good results.

"We're excited to get those drugs off the street," he said.

Pat Reavy

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