UHP troopers stop driver allegedly transporting 86 pounds of meth

Channing L. Allen. Photo Courtesy: Iron County Sheriff's Office

CEDAR CITY, Utah, Oct. 8, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — A Utah Highway Patrol trooper stopped a man near Cedar City Monday who was allegedly transporting 86 pounds of methamphetamine.

A probable cause statement from the 5th District Court of Iron County said Channing L. Allen, 35, is facing charges of:

  • Possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, a second-degree felony
  • Unlawful possession/purchase/transfer of a dangerous weapon, a third-degree felony
  • Altering a vehicle compartment for contraband, a class A misdemeanor
  • Possession of a controlled substance, schedule I or II, a class A misdemeanor
  • Possession of a controlled substance, marijuana or spice, a class B misdemeanor
  • Use or possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor
  • Following too close, an infraction

The arresting officer wrote that he was patrolling in Iron County and sitting in the median at approximately mile marker 63. He observed a silver four-door passenger vehicle, with a Pennsylvania license plate, traveling northbound on Interstate 15, the statement said.

“I observed the driver appeared to be nervous when he passed my location,” the statement. “He was traveling in the left lane with another vehicle following and appeared he was impeding the left lane. I pulled out and caught up to the vehicle. When I caught up to the vehicle I observed that it had switched from the left to the right lane.”

The driver then pulled up to a semi and started to follow it at a distance that was closer than two seconds of following distance. The officer initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle at approximately mile marker 66 on I-15 northbound.

“Upon approaching the vehicle and contacting the driver I smelled the odor of marijuana inside the vehicle,” the statement said. “During the conversation with the driver, later identified as Allen, I explained the reason for the stop. I read him his Miranda rights and he told me that he would talk with me. When I asked him about the odor of marijuana he admitted that he bought some marijuana and it was in the car.”

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The driver told the officer he did not not have a medical marijuana card. The officer searched the vehicle and found a small amount of marijuana under the front passenger seat, as well as paraphernalia in the center console. One of the straws had a white residue on it.

“I placed the driver under arrest and continued to search,” the statement said. “I located a firearm in a pillowcase behind the back seat. As I was searching I located a manufactured compartment that was behind the rear passenger seat. I asked the driver about the compartment and he told me that it had methamphetamine in it.”

The driver and the vehicle were transported to a UHP area office and the arresting officer asked the driver to demonstrate how to open the compartment.

“He allowed us to record him and showed us how to open it,” the statement said. “Inside we found 47 packages that contained methamphetamine. When the packages were weighed it came to a total of approximately 86 pounds of methamphetamine.”

The driver also admitted that he was paid $5,000 to transport the methamphetamine, the statement said.

“He also told me that the people that built the manufactured compartment also gave him the firearm for protection,” the statement said. “We also searched the wallet of the driver and found a small bag of cocaine as well. Both the cocaine and the methamphetamine was field tested positive for the suspected narcotics.”

Allen was transported to Iron County Jail, where he is being held without bail.

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