Iron County trooper finds 15 lbs. of cocaine hidden in sealed dog food containers

Utah Highway Patrol vehicles. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Monico Garza/SLCScanner

IRON COUNTY, Utah, Jan. 22, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — An Iron County traffic stop made on a woman observed to be driving recklessly turned into a drug bust that allegedly yielded 15 pounds of cocaine.

The stop was made by a Utah Highway Patrol trooper assigned to Cedar City, the probable cause statement says. At 12:35 a.m. Jan. 16, the trooper said he saw the vehicle, northbound on Interstate 15, following a semi at an unsafe distance.

After the SUV allegedly made a sudden lane change the trooper then activated his lights and siren and made a traffic stop on the Interstate 71 northbound off ramp, the statement says.

The officer found suspect Janely Lopez driving the rental car, rented by a third party.

“During the course of my traffic stop I became suspicious of further criminal activity, so deployed my police service dog Leo for a free air sniff of the vehicle,” the trooper’s statement says. “Leo gave a positive indication to the odor of narcotics coming from inside the vehicle. The driver admitted that she had some THC vapes inside the vehicle and did not possess a valid medical marijuana card.

“During a search, I located a box in the trunk containing a sealed dog food container. Once the seal was broken, I located seven packages of narcotics hidden inside the container. The driver was placed under arrest and transported to the Iron County Jail,” the statement says.

“One of the packages was cut open and the white powdery substance tested positive for cocaine. A total weight for the packages was 7 kilograms or approximately 15 pounds of the substance.”

Lopez faces charges of possession with intent to distribute a C/substances, a second-degree felony; possession of controlled substances marijuana/spice, a class B misdemeanor; and following a vehicle too close and improper lane change in an occupied lane, both infractions.


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