Couple arrested in Utah charged with having 11 pounds of fentanyl in car

Two people are facing criminal charges and could face federal charges after police say they had 11 pounds of fentanyl pills in their car when they were arrested earlier this month.

Two people are facing criminal charges and could face federal charges after police say they had 11 pounds of fentanyl pills in their car when they were arrested earlier this month. (Stace Hall, KSL-TV)



Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes

ST. GEORGE — Police arrested two people following a traffic stop who they say had 11 pounds of fentanyl pills in their car.

Veronica Marquez-Franco, 47, and Jesus Guadalupe Navarro-Perez, 21, were booked into the Washington County Jail on Jan. 10 and both have since been charged with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, a second-degree felony, and use or possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor.

The two people were pulled over after their Jeep Cherokee with Colorado license plates exited its lane of travel in Washington County, according to police booking affidavits.

While police were conducting the traffic stop, a K-9 "alerted to the odor of narcotics within the vehicle," the affidavit said. After searching the vehicle, police say they found pills they identified as "counterfeit pills containing pure fentanyl."

Homeland Security and the Washington County Drug Task Force also responded after the pills were found, court records indicate.

Both Marquez-Franco and Navarro-Perez have connections to both Sinaloa, Mexico, and Denver, Colorado, the affidavits state. Police have requested the two be held without bail out of concern they will leave the state or country.

During a court hearing on Friday, the prosecutor told a judge that federal prosecutors plan to pursue the case in U.S. District Court.

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Lisi Merkley is a news producer for KSL.com. Prior to joining KSL in May 2021, she was editor in chief of The Daily Universe at Brigham Young University, where she graduated with a bachelor's degree in communications and Spanish.

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