Washington Co. Sheriff: Driver arrested with 32 pounds of meth, coke, Fentanyl in hidden compartment

File photo: Flickr/Edward Kimmel

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah, June 20, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — A driver was booked into jail Friday after a Washington County Sheriff agent detained him on a traffic stop and found a secret compartment containing about 32 pounds of illegal drugs.

Rame Samir Darshalabi, 25, is being held without bail on initial charges of possession with intent to distribute a C class substance, a second degree felony; and altering a vehicle compartment for contraband, a class A misdemeanor.

“I conducted a traffic stop on I-15 NB near mile marker 17 for a left lane travel violation,” says a probable cause statement filed in the case. “While behind this vehicle (along with other vehicles behind me) it was traveling at 73 MPH impeding traffic in the left lane as the speed limit in this area is 80 MPH.”

The right lane was free, the statement says. The officer stopped the car and talked to the driver, later identified by his California driver license as Darshalabi.

Image: Google Maps

“While speaking with Rame I could see the front passengers floor board of the vehicle,” the statement says. “From where I was standing at the passengers door I could see the seat had been raised about two inches higher than the factory floor and had a seem between the two heights.

“Based on my training and experience in after market manufactured contraband
compartments I believed there to be a floor compartment in this vehicle, these are commonly seen for smuggling contraband such as narcotics, firearms, and currency.”

The officer took the suspect to his patrol car, asked his agency to run a records search, and called for a drug-sniffing canine. Darshalabi said he didn’t have drugs in his vehicle, and consented to having it searched, the statement says, so the officer canceled the call for a K-9.

“I confirmed the front passenger floor to have a compartment under it as I could hear a deep echo when I knocked on it,” the statement says.

“I used a digital scope to see inside the compartment and could see several large bundles wrapped in cling wrap and brown packing tape, consistent with the way bulk narcotics are packaged for smuggling.”

Post Miranda, Darshalabi said he did not know how to access the compartment, but did know it contained drugs, the statement says.

“During the interview with HSI/WCDTF detectives, Rame stated he was being paid $3,000 to transport the narcotics to Denver, Colorado.”

The hidden compartment was found to be two separate sections running the entire length of the vehicle on both the driver and passengers side,” the WCSO statement says.

“The bottom of both front seats were found to be an access point and which we
had to damage to open each side. It was later found that loose wires hidden under the center console panels had to be connected to power to actuate the compartments electronic latches.

“Inside the these compartments several large amounts of narcotics were located including three large bags of Methamphetamine (8.5 pounds), six large bundles and 20 smaller bundles containing suspected Fentanyl pills (M30s) (18.5 pounds), and two ‘Kilo’ sized bricks of Cocaine (5 pounds),” the probable cause statement says.

“These items along with the vehicle were seized as evidence, the vehicle being
evidence of the contraband compartment charge.”

The statement also noted that the crimes were committed while Darshalabi was on probation or parole.

Purgatory Correctional Facility. Image: Google Streets

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