Price police on dinner break drug bust: ‘It completely came together right’

Mar 23, 2018, 11:23 PM | Updated: Mar 24, 2018, 10:48 am

PRICE — Just because they’re on break doesn’t mean police aren’t watching.

Three Price Police officers grabbing tacos Tuesday during a 10:00 p.m. dinner break  said they spotted something suspicious at a nearby car wash, and the discovery led to multiple arrests and drug seizures in two counties.

“As we were eating, we watched (a car) pull up into the car wash bay and a car pull up nose-to-nose with it,” said Officer Tyler Cressall. “When we watched him get out of his car and get into the other car—that’s when we made contact with them in their vehicle.”

Cressall said the female driver, identified as Kylie Thompson, 19, threw a backpack in the backseat and the man also appeared to be trying to conceal something.

“We pulled both out of the car, and when we did I frisked the male for weapons, and I saw a glass meth pipe sticking out of his hoodie pouch,” Cressall said.

Cressall said the man, subsequently identified as Jonathan Croft, 32, also had baggies of meth and heroin.

“At that point, he was placed in custody and we interviewed people and got information that they were both there to have a drug interaction,” Cressall said.

Detectives said the officers discovered information that suggested Thompson and Croft were involved in “collaborative drug dealing activities.”

The initial stop, police said, led them to execute a search warrant at Croft’s home at 468 South 100 West early Wednesday morning.

Detectives said they seized a “sophisticated” surveillance system, along with paraphernalia, cutting agent, ledgers and a personal use amount of marijuana.

As officers were waiting to execute the warrant, investigators said a man and woman in a Chevy Cavalier registered to a Utah County resident pulled into Croft’s driveway.

Investigators said the two people gave suspicious answers to how they came into possession of the car, including not knowing the name of the car’s owner.

Police said the man, identified as Michael Helmlinger, 56, of Huntington, had a statewide warrant for his arrest.

After some tense moments in which officers said Helmlinger kept reaching for his pocket and then pulled out a BB gun that looked like a .45 semi-automatic pistol while saying, “it’s a fake.” Investigators said the woman, Andrea Tanner, 37, of Price, became visibly upset.

“The female subject started getting nervous, started crying and admitted that she had heroin in her bra,” Officer Nick Parker said.

Officers searched the car and discovered nearly two grams of heroin, more than 11 grams of meth, paraphernalia and alleged records of drug deals.

“We found ledgers detailing sales, who they sold to, how much, the amount, and they also, in one of them, wrote what they started with in drug weight and what they still had after each sale,” Parker said.

Police said investigative information led them to believe that Helmlinger was a partner to Croft, and that Croft was allegedly spending $5,000 to $10,000 a week bringing meth and heroin to Carbon and Emery counties.

“They split everything—money, drugs—even,” Parker said.

Information gathered by police led to an additional search warrant at a home in Emery County, where more drugs, paraphernalia and other “evidence of controlled substance distribution” was discovered and seized.

A post on the Emery County Sheriff’s Facebook page said the investigation led to a total of five arrests, but it was unclear late Friday the identity of the fifth individual arrested.

Croft, Helmlinger, Tanner and Thompson were all arrested and booked into the Carbon County Jail on suspicion of felony drug distribution and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, police said.

“This one—it completely came together right at the right time,” said Sgt. Stephen Regruto, who was also in on the initial traffic stop.

For the three officers, the added paperwork from their investigation was simply a ‘cherry on top.’

They went out to grab a bite, and instead took a bite out of crime.

“That’s what we do,” Cressall said. “That’s our every day job, looking out for stuff like that.”

RELATED: Officers’ dinner break leads to drug bust

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

A West Valley police car. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)...
Brooke Williams

Two dead after crashing into parked truck

Two died in a crash in West Valley.
12 hours ago
Keith Jensen's Christmas home lit up by all the festive lights. (KSL-TV)...
Michael Locklear

Millcreek man lights up neighborhood with the face of Santa

Millcreek man is spreading Christmas cheer through tens of thousands of lights all around his home.
1 day ago
FILE PHOTO: The Chickadee lift is pictured at Snowbird in Little Cottonwood Canyon on Thursday, Oct...
Michael Houck and Brooke Williams

Avalanche triggered at Snowbird resort, no injuries reported

Rescue crews responded to the Snowbird Ski Resort after an avalanche was triggered on a trail. 
1 day ago
FILE PHOTO (Lehi Police Department/Facebook)...
Michael Houck

Lehi building placed on ‘lock down’ after reports of man with a gun

A misunderstanding caused a building to be placed in "lock down" after reports of a man with a gun Tuesday.
1 day ago
Pat Reavy, KSL.com

Price man arrested in woman’s 2019 death now being called a murder

A Price man has been arrested for investigation of murder in connection with the shooting death of a woman in 2019 in Carbon County that was once considered an accidental shooting.
1 day ago
A Ute Football mini helmet at the U of U official store. (KSL-TV)...
Shelby Lofton

‘It was a dream come true;’ Utah football fans hyped up for another Rose Bowl

Utah football fans are making plans for the Rose Bowl after winning the PAC-12 championship game Friday night.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Price police on dinner break drug bust: ‘It completely came together right’