Traffic stop ends with millions in drugs seized

Mar 12, 2024, 8:14 PM | Updated: Mar 13, 2024, 9:18 am


FILE (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for UNITAS)

(Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for UNITAS)

CEDAR CITY — A routine traffic stop turned into a multimillion-dollar bust on Saturday when an Iron County sheriff’s deputy discovered $5 million worth of drugs in a man’s car.

According to a police affidavit, a deputy with the Iron County Sheriff’s Office was waiting at the intersection of 1400 West and 200 North in Cedar City when he saw a truck that “sat through a (cycle of the traffic lights from green to red) and it did not move.”

The deputy then identified Julio Partida-Pantoja, 50, and performed a field sobriety test. Partida-Pantoja “provided a (breathalyzer) sample which yielded a 0.262 (blood-alcohol measurement),” according to the document, which would be over five times the state’s legal limit for alcohol consumption while driving.

During a search of the truck, the deputy located “a substantial amount of” methamphetamine and over 200,000 fentanyl pills, weighing over 170 pounds cumulatively. The value of these drugs was “approximately 5 million dollars,” the affidavit states.

Julio Partida-Pantoja was booked into the Iron County jail on one count of driving under the influence, a class B misdemeanor; interfering with an officer, a class B misdemeanor; two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, a second-degree felony; use or possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor; and drinking alcohol in a vehicle, a class C misdemeanor.

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Traffic stop ends with millions in drugs seized