PROVO, Utah, Oct. 12, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — A 22-year-old Uber passenger was arrested Friday after his driver was stopped on suspicion of a minor traffic violation, and police say they found 13 pounds of illegal drugs in the duffle bag owned by the rider.
Edgar Esteban Ramos Valdez was booked into the Utah County Jail on two counts of possession with intent to distribute a substance, a second-degree felony.
The substances involved were 11 pounds of methamphetamine and two pounds of heroin, a probable cause statement says.
The Uber driver was stopped after a Provo Police officer observed him making two lane changes without signaling, the statement says. The driver stated he had picked up the passenger, Valdez, at a hotel in Provo on south University Avenue.
“The back seat passenger appeared very nervous and was making exaggerated furtive movements on my approach,” the officer’s statement says.
“I asked the passenger why he was so nervous and he stated he was fine. The passenger would not make eye contact with me when I asked him questions.”
The PPD officer noted a bag on the floorboard of the back seat.
“The defendant appeared more nervous than normal,” the statement says. “I asked for a K-9 assist and K-9 Officer Hughes responded. Officer Hughes dog indicated positively on the vehicle trunk and a search was done of the vehicle.
“During a search of the vehicle I found the black duffle bag in the back to contain several packages wrapped in plastic. These packages appeared to be methamphetamine, and heroin, based on my training and experience.”
Driver and passenger were taken into custody and read their Miranda Rights.
The driver agreed to talk, and said he received a message to pick up the passenger at Little Inn Suites. He picked up Valdez, who placed a bag in the the car.
Field tests on three of the bags inside the duffle bag tested positive for meth and for heroin, the statement says. Valdez’s bail has been set at $20,000.