CRIME

260 pounds of methamphetamine seized during central Utah traffic stop

Feb 19, 2024, 4:31 PM | Updated: Feb 20, 2024, 8:22 am

Four large bins were recovered from a rental Toyota Corolla in central Utah during a traffic stop o...

Four large bins were recovered from a rental Toyota Corolla in central Utah during a traffic stop on Feb. 18, 2024. (Utah Highway Patrol)

(Utah Highway Patrol)

EMERY, Emery County — A 26-year-old California man was arrested after he was pulled over for speeding, and four large bins of methamphetamine were seized from the back seat of the car, according to the Utah Highway Patrol.

A police booking affidavit states that Steven Brian Esquivias was traveling on Interstate 70 in a rental white Toyota Corolla on Sunday. A patrol trooper with the UHP said he was sitting stationary and had an activated speed radar. The radar picked up the Corolla’s speed at 101 mph in an 80 mph zone.

The trooper said he could see just one man inside the car, but quickly noticed four large totes in the back that had numbers written on them. The trooper took the driver’s license and then requested the rental agreement for the car. Esquivias told the trooper he did not have the agreement. The trooper asked who did, and Esquivias told him a friend had rented the car for him.

“I then invited the driver back to my vehicle due to suspicion of criminal activity,” the trooper said. “Once at my vehicle, I could visibly see the driver was breathing very heavily, appearing as if he was going to hyperventilate. The driver appeared to be extremely nervous.”

The trooper then told Esquivias that he suspected there was “criminal activity” in the car and asked for consent to search, which Esquivias gave. The trooper said the search yielded four black totes full of “a crystal substance” which was later measured and confirmed to be 260 pounds of methamphetamine.

Esquivias was then arrested without resisting.

The affidavit estimates that the street value of the amount of methamphetamine recovered is approximately $5 million to $7.5 million.

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260 pounds of methamphetamine seized during central Utah traffic stop