240 pounds of marijuana seized during Tooele County traffic stop

Photo: Utah Highway Patrol

TOOELE COUNTY, Utah, Nov. 24, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A Utah state trooper seized some 240 pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop Tuesday.

Almost identical probable cause statements from the 3rd District Court of Tooele said Francisco Contreras, 59, and Mariano Yovanne Torres-Meza, 33, are facing charges of:

  • Possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, a second-degree felony
  • Marijuana possession 100 pounds or greater, a second-degree felony

Torres-Meza, the driver of the suspect vehicle, is also facing charges of failure to signal for two seconds and no valid license; never obtaining license.

Traffic stop

The arresting Department of Pubic Safety officer stopped the suspect vehicle after observing that the driver failed to signal for two seconds and “quickly exited I-80 eastbound at mile marker 70,” the statement said.

“While speaking with the driver I became suspicious of further criminal activity,” the statement said. “The odor of marijuana was detected emitting from the vehicle and neither occupant had a medical marijuana card. A probable cause search of the vehicle was completed, during which multiple duffle bags were found to contain a total of 207 vacuum sealed bags with a green leafy substance that NIK tested positive for marijuana.”

The total approximate weight of the 207 vacuum sealed bags and contents was 240 pounds.

“The driver and passenger both explained they were helping the other one out and driving the car to Chicago,” the statement said.

Contreras’ probable cause statement added that he is not a Utah resident, has nearly 400 known border crossings to Mexico and “is highly likely to flee the local jurisdiction and possibly to Mexico if released on bail.”

The statement for Torres-Meza added: “This suspect is not a current U.S. citizen and does not know his current address in Oakland, California. He is highly likely to flee the jurisdiction if released.”

Both suspects were being held without bail.

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