Officials: Utah County man who transported over $850K in drugs has been deported 8 times

Jose Olegario Lopez. Photo Courtesy: Utah County Sheriff's Office

UTAH COUNTY, Utah, Jan. 15, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — A Utah County man arrested after allegedly transporting over $850,000 in drugs — with his 16-year-old son in the car — has already been deported from the United States eight times, officials said.

ICE Agents placed a hold on Jose Olegario Lopez, 44, Saturday and a judge ordered that the suspect be held without bail, said a news release from the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.

“During the course of this investigation, detectives learned that the suspect is from the state of Sinaloa in Mexico,” the update Tuesday said. “ICE Agents informed detectives that Lopez has been deported from the United States eight different times. Following each deportation Lopez has reentered the United States illegally. Lopez has connections to drug trafficking operations outside of Utah and is known to regularly bring drugs into Utah.”

Detectives with the Utah County Special Enforcement Team made the arrest Saturday following an investigation regarding the trafficking of illegal narcotics, the original news release said.

Detectives from several agencies and deputies with UCSO attempted to stop a car driven by Lopez for traffic violations, the news release said.

“Lopez did not stop until other deputies and detectives surrounded his car,” the statement said. “Because he failed to respond to the command of peace officers, Lopez was immediately taken into custody and searched. During that search detectives found a small amount of cocaine in a coin pocket in Lopez’s pants.”

A K-9 officer with Spanish Fork Police had his K-9 partner sniff the exterior of the car. The K-9 gave a positive reaction indicating the presence of illegal narcotics.

When detectives conducted a search, they found a sealed box in the car, the news release said. Inside that box they found numerous individually wrapped packages. Detectives found one of the packages contained 2.35 pounds of cocaine. This equates to over 10,500 individual doses with a street value of more than $106,000. Detectives found the remaining packages to contain 16.7 pounds of methamphetamine. This equates to over 75,000 individual doses with a street value of more than $750,000.

UCSO detectives said it is believed the teenage son was not involved with Lopez in the possession or distribution of these drugs. The son was later released to his mother. Detectives also believe the mother was not involved in the incident.

Lopez was booked into jail on two first-degree felony charges of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute; one second-degree felony charge of child endangerment; one third-degree felony charge of failing to respond to the command of a peace officer and one class A misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia.

On the day of Lopez’ arrest, in a separate case, detectives from various agencies with the Utah County Major Crimes Task Force stopped a car and made arrests after finding 23 pounds of methamphetamine with a street value of over $1 million.

“While the quantity of drugs seized in these two cases is significant, many other loads go through undetected, ultimately being sold in our communities,” the update said.


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