UHP: 2 jailed after traffic stop yields 9 pounds of heroin in Iron County

File photo: Gephardt Daily

IRON COUNTY, Utah, June 12, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A man and a woman were booked into the Iron County jail after a trooper says a traffic stop led to the discovery of about nine pounds of heroin.

Daniel Mendiola, 31, and America Hickman, 41, were both jailed Wednesday on suspicion of intent to distribute C/substance, a second-degree felony, among other charges.

According to probable cause statements filed in their cases, a Utah Highway Patrol trooper on Interstate 15 slowed near mile marker 68, and the car behind the patrol car did not slow down, and came close to striking the officer’s car. The trooper pulled over the vehicle.

“The driver was identified by her California driver license to be America Hickman, born 04/02/1980,” the probable cause statements say. “The vehicle was a rental vehicle, and neither occupants were able to produce a rental agreement for the vehicle. The driver was eventually able to produce a rental agreement, but it did not list her or the passenger as an authorized driver.”

The rental company told officers they would like the vehicle impounded, the statement says.

“A K-9 unit was called to perform an open air sniff around the vehicle due to the variance in information being provided by both the driver and the passenger. The K9 unit gave a positive indication and a vehicle search was performed.”

The vehicle search resulted in the seizure of approximately nine pounds of heroin located in the trunk of the vehicle. A meth pipe also was located in a jacket belonging to the male.

“The heroin was located in a bag inside the suitcase, as well as in a fertilizer container that had been modified to have packages placed inside,” the statement says.

Mendiola has a criminal history including purchase for sale of narcotics or a controlled substance, the statement says, adding he was on probation at the time of his previous arrest on Dec. 30 of last year. Mendiola was ordered held without bail.

Hickman’s bail was set at $25,000, and she is no longer in custody.


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