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MOAB — Police in Moab have arrested a man who they say was carrying a large number of pills disguised to look like oxycodone but in fact were the deadly fentanyl drug.
Alarek Bischoff was booked into the Grand County Jail for investigation of four counts of drug possession with intent to distribute, drug possession inside a jail, possession of drug paraphernalia and giving a false identity to police.
On Tuesday about 10:50 p.m., Bischoff was pulled over on U.S. Route 191 near Moab after police spotted a lit cigarette and another trash item being thrown out a window as he was driving, according to a police affidavit.
Bischoff gave police a false name and said he was from Arizona but claimed he didn't have ID on him. While placing him in handcuffs for safety, the officer noticed drug paraphernalia in his pocket, according to the affidavit.
"I then advised him that it would be best to just tell me if he held active warrants out of Arizona. He stated that he did have warrants, and then provided his proper identification of Alarek Bischoff," the affidavit states.
A search of his car revealed more drug paraphernalia and light blue pills with "M30" stamped on them, according to the affidavit, which typically indicates a pill contains 30mg of oxycodone.
Police also found a locked black metal container.
"Upon further inspection of the locked container, it was found to contain 232 of the oxycodone pills, all bearing the same M30 stamp. A baggie contained 8 grams of heroin, which was field-tested, and 8 grams of raw marijuana.
"Although the pills located bore the stamp M30, it should be noted that Bischoff claimed possession of fentanyl. Additionally, as of recent ... investigators out of Colorado have identified pills identical to those found in the possession of Bischoff to actually be fentanyl," according to the affidavit.
When pressed further by police, Bischoff acknowledged the pills "were in fact fentanyl, not oxycodone, that they were stamped to appear as oxycodone," the affidavit states.
"Bischoff has in his possession a great deal of the drug fentanyl, a drug which is linked to the death of many users," the affidavit continued.
Counterfeit drugs laced with fentanyl have become a problem across the U.S. and in Utah.
Bischoff's passenger in the vehicle, Rachelle Nichol Nye, 33, was also arrested. She was booked into the Grand County Jail for investigation of three counts of drug possession, possession of drug paraphernalia, and littering for allegedly throwing the cigarette out the window.