96 South Main Street, PO Box 77, Nephi, Utah 84648 - Voice: 435 623-0525 - FAX: 435 623-4735

On our front page this week

  • Juab County Officers find $300,000 of Marijuana during routine traffic stop near Nephi

DRUG BUST • Juab County Deputy Andrew Davidson, his dog Nick and Trooper John Sheets show the $300,000 of Marijuana found in a vehicle stopped on I-15

By Myrna Trauntvein
Times-News Correspondent

Law enforcement officers located more than $300,000 worth of marijuana following a routine traffic stop.

Three individuals were arrested--a juvenile, and two adults, one male and one female.

"The juvenile was transported to Slate Canyon Detention facility," said Hoby Metz, UHP Sgt. "It is unclear if and when the juvenile will be extradited to her domicile for prosecution."

Metz said the name of the adult male was Juan Cardenas Chavez, 23 years old, who has residence in Arizona and Washington states.

"The name of the adult female was Dulce Escalera, age19," Metz said. Escalara resides in Arizona.

The case was filed with the State of Utah in the Fourth District Court in Juab County, Metz said.

Utah Highway Patrol Trooper John Sheets was working Interstate-15 near Nephi Tuesday morning when he stopped a vehicle on a routine traffic stop.

Following the stop, Sheets suspected there might be a controlled substance inside the vehicle.

"He called Deputy Andrew Davidson and his police canine, Nick, to the scene to help with the investigation," said Alden Orme, Juab County Sheriff.

Nick indicated that there was a controlled substance in the vehicle so Sheets and Davidson searched the vehicle.

That search uncovered 100 pounds of marijuana wrapped in one-pound bundles.

Orme said that marijuana is currently selling on the street for approximately $20 for one-eighth ounce,

"They probably bought the drug for $1,000 a pound but the street value for the 100-pounds would add up to approximately $300,000," said Orme.

The two adults in the vehicle will face first degree felony drug trafficking charges. The charge is bumped up to a first degree felony because a juvenile was involved.

The juvenile female will be charged in juvenile court.

"The high grade marijuana load was from Arizona and was being driven north, probably to Salt Lake City," said Orme.

Orme said he wanted to publicly acknowledge the great work done by Trooper Sheets who, he said, is an outstanding trooper working in the area and who has gained a reputation for good police work.

"We are also proud of Deputy Davidson and his police canine, Nick, who has been a great addition to the drug interdiction team," said Orme.

Orme said he takes a great deal of time and effort to train and work with a canine and Davidson had been willing to do the necessary work.

Utah's "Schedules of controlled substances" classifies marijuana as a "hallucinogenic substance."

Possession with intent to sell marijuana is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine and is a third-degree felony. In a drug-free zone, those penalties can be enhanced to a second-degree felony. Involving a juvenile allows the penalty to be enhanced to a first degree felony.

Federal trafficking of marijuana penalties are more severe and could apply because the three individuals transported across state lines.

Federal trafficking penalties for less than 50 kilograms are a maximum of 5 years and $250,000. One Hundred pounds equals 45.4 kilograms.