Handwritten license plate leads to drug bust in Iron County

Sep 3, 2021, 4:42 PM
(Utah Highway Patrol)...
(Utah Highway Patrol)
(Utah Highway Patrol)

IRON COUNTY, UtahA 41-year-old man was booked into jail after a trooper with the Utah Highway Patrol pulled over a car on Interstate 15 in Iron County for several violations, including a homemade paper license plate, and later found multiple pounds of methamphetamine.

The trooper was patrolling I-15 on Saturday, Aug. 28 when he noticed a vehicle with a handwritten license plate, traveling in the northbound lanes.

The car was also described as having a “very very dark” tint on the front side windows, as well as over the third brake light in the rear window, according to the probable cause statement.

Additionally, court documents said the vehicle was following closely behind a semi-truck “at a distance of less than two seconds.”

All of those things, Trooper Scott Roy Mackelprang wrote, gave him cause to issue a traffic stop.

After gathering information from the driver, Mackelprang discovered the man’s California driver’s license had been suspended or revoked and the car did not have valid registration.

He said a tow truck was then called out to impound the vehicle. 

(Utah Highway Patrol) (Utah Highway Patrol) (Utah Highway Patrol)

While speaking with the driver, the UHP trooper said he “observed indicators of criminal activity and recent drug use.”

He went on to say, “I noted that his eyes were glassy, bloodshot, and red. He had facial tremors and was sweating.”

Consent was then obtained by the trooper to search the driver and his car, according to court documents.

During the search, two bindles of methamphetamine were found on the driver, while three large narcotic bundles, weighing approximately seven pounds, were found under the carpet near the rear seat.

The driver, who was identified as 41-year-old Francisco Velasquez, was arrested and taken to the UHP Section 11 Office, where authorities said he admitted to using methamphetamine.

“He also admitted to being given the drugs and concealing them inside of his vehicle. He admitted to being paid $2,000 for hauling the narcotics,” read the probable cause statement.

Velasquez was then booked into jail for investigation of several misdemeanor drug charges, among others.

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Handwritten license plate leads to drug bust in Iron County