Fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards, $30K in cash, marijuana found during southern Utah traffic stop

File photo: Gephardt Daily

SAN JUAN COUNTY, Utah, Sept. 28, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A traffic stop in southern Utah Monday yielded not only marijuana, a shotgun and more than $30,000 in cash but fraudulent stolen COVID-19 vaccination cards.

A probable cause statement from the 7th District Court of San Juan County said Dino Angelo Rende, 19, from Pennsylvania, is facing charges of:

  • Purchase, transfer, possession, use of a firearm by a restricted person, a third-degree felony
  • Possession of a controlled substance, schedule I/II/analog, a class A misdemeanor
  • Possession of a controlled substance, marijuana/spice, a class B misdemeanor
  • Use or possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor
  • Prohibited uses of identification card, a class C misdemeanor
  • Speeding, an infraction

At approximately 2:52 p.m., a Utah Highway Patrol trooper was on patrol on State Route 191 near miler marker 73 when a silver Chevy Malibu was seen traveling southbound “at a high rate of speed,” the statement said.

The trooper initiated a traffic stop near 600 N. Main St. in Monticello. The driver, Rende, produced an ID card but could not find proof of insurance.

“While talking to Rende, an odor consistent with burnt marijuana was emitting from the passenger compartment of the vehicle,” the statement said. “I returned to my vehicle to run a records check on the individual and allow him time to find his insurance. I returned to Rende to verify his insurance and while talking to Rende I could visually see a New Jersey license in his wallet.”

Rende allegedly told the trooper that it was a fake ID that he has used to buy marijuana, but was not in possession of any at the time. While Rende was searching for insurance in the center console, the trooper said in the statement he could see rolling papers.

Based on the odor of burnt marijuana and the rolling papers in the center console, the trooper said he was going to search Rende’s vehicle.

“At that time he stated that he did have some weed and produced a THC vape with multiple cartridges,” the statement said.

“Prior to stepping out, he also stated that he had a firearm on the back floorboard,” the statement said. “Prior to a search, a Mossberg shotgun was located with shells in the magazine. During a search of the vehicle, a gray bag on the front seat contained a brick of approximately $30,000 in large denominations was located. The brick was wrapped in plastic wrapping and then wrapped in tin foil. Also in the bag was approximately another $1,500 wrapped in rubber bands.”

During a search of the rest of the car a rolling paper with raw marijuana was also located.

“In the glovebox an envelope containing 17 fraudulent COVID-19 vaccine cards were located as well,” the statement said.

Rende was arrested and transported to the San Juan County Jail, with his bail set at $30,000. The money and evidence seized was taken by the State Bureau of Investigation for further investigation.


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