LOCAL NEWS

Utah County traffic stop reveals $1 million of fentanyl pills

Jul 5, 2023, 6:57 PM

The bags of the blue pills being weighed on a scale. (Utah County Sherriff's Office)...

The bags of the blue pills being weighed on a scale. (Utah County Sherriff's Office)

(Utah County Sherriff's Office)

UTAH COUNTY, Utah — A routine traffic stop unveiled ten bags of suspected fentanyl pills with pig pictures on them early Wednesday morning.

The Utah County Sheriff’s Office said one of their deputies was patrolling Interstate 15 near Spanish Fork when the deputy attempted a traffic stop on a Toyota Tacoma pickup for traffic violations at approximately 1:30 a.m.

According to the affidavit, the pickup had a “license plate light hanging from a wire under the rear bumper” that was “emitting light to the rear as the vehicle traveled down the freeway.”

The deputy also noticed the pickup failing to maintain a consistent speed and staying in a single travel lane.

According to the affidavit, the Utah County Sheriff’s deputy activated his emergency lights to conduct a traffic stop on the pickup. However, the pickup failed to yield for about 1.5 miles until it stopped and activated its hazard warning lights.

Because the pickup’s window was dark and the deputy was unable to see how many people were in the car, he commanded the driver to exit the vehicle.

According to police, 31-year-old Enrique Rivera Castro of Herriman stepped out of the car and identified himself with a Mexico identification card.

Castro told the deputy he did not have a Utah driver’s license but had lived in the state for about two years.

While questioning Castro and asking about his insurance, the deputy observed signs of recent drug use from the driver, according to the affidavit. After getting permission to enter Castro’s car for his insurance information, the deputy “observed a large amount of cash in the vehicle.”

The deputy called for a K-9 to sniff the pickup, which resulted in probable cause to search for illegal drugs in the car.

“During a search of the vehicle, officers located a hidden compartment that contained an estimated 25 pounds of blue pills,” stated the affidavit. “The estimated 25 pounds of pills would equate to approximately 115,000 individual doses, far more than one user would ever possess.”

Police believe the street value of the pills was over $1 million. After cataloging the pills, police said the total weight of the bags was 24.75 pounds, with about 112,250 pills in the bags.

According to the affidavit, before being processed to the Utah County Jail, police asked Castro if he had anything illegal on his person, which he claimed he did not. However, in a search of his person, police found a “plastic twist in (his) underwear that contained a white powder.”

Police field-tested the powder, which resulted in a positive test for cocaine.

According to the Utah County Sherriff’s Office, Castro was booked for second-degree felony possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, third-degree felony possession of a controlled substance, a class A misdemeanor of altering vehicle compartment for contraband, and a class C misdemeanor for no insurance.

Castro also cited traffic infractions of not having a valid driver’s license, failing to operate in a single lane, and improper license plate illumination.

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Utah County traffic stop reveals $1 million of fentanyl pills