Utah County detectives: I-15 stop leads to seizure of 5,500 fentanyl pills, weapons

Apr 10, 2024, 9:42 AM

NEPHI — Deputies said Tuesday they seized 5,500 fentanyl pills along with methamphetamine and weapons following a traffic stop of a Lehi man they suspected of distributing drugs.

Larry Glenn Jones, 39, was booked into jail on suspicion of several drug and weapons violations.

Detectives with the Utah County Special Enforcement Team and Utah County Major Crimes Force told KSL TV they learned about Jones during an investigation into the distribution of large quantities of fentanyl throughout the county.

According to the investigators, they observed through surveillance that Jones traveled to Phoenix, Arizona, on Sunday only to make a swift return trip on Monday, apparently only stopping to rest briefly at the Arizona/Utah border.

While heading north on I-15 through Juab County, deputies stopped Jones just south of Nephi. They said he was driving 95 mph in an 80 mph zone.

Detective Zac Robinson said a drug K-9 gave a positive indication of drugs and probable cause to search the car, where deputies discovered the fentanyl concealed under the center console.

“There were 5,500 approximately, and 30 grams of methamphetamine,” Robinson said. “The quantity of drugs that he had was definitely not for personal use.”

Detectives said they also found a weapon inside Jones’ car, and during a subsequent search warrant executed on Jones’s house, they seized an AR-15 rifle, shotgun and handgun along with a bulletproof vest.

Robinson said it’s obvious why seizures like these are potentially hazardous to law enforcement.

“You know, they’re using and abusing these drugs that they sell and they’ve kind of been unpredictable, so it is kind of a dangerous situation for us to be in doing search warrants on these houses and arresting these guys because a lot of them do carry weapons.”

Investigators said though fentanyl pills sell for much cheaper closer to the border, they fetch a higher price in Utah.

“For example, he would go down there and probably pay 50 cents to a dollar per pill and he’d come back up here to Utah County and sell those pills anywhere from $5 to $7 per pill,” Robinson said.

Deputies estimated the total value of the drugs seized to be roughly somewhere between $27,000 and $40,000.

Robinson said the fentanyl pills were potentially dangerous to users because their production was likely unregulated.

“I like to compare it out to making chocolate chip cookies,” he explained. “You make a batch of cookies. You dump in the chocolate chips and mix it around, right? You don’t know how many chocolate chips you get in each cookie. You’re going to get some with a lot of chocolate chips and some with maybe very little.”

Translated to fentanyl, said some pills could come out of the batch with a potentially lethal dose.

“One pill can be more potent than the other,” he said. “You just never know and we’ve had a lot of overdoses and a lot of deaths because of it.”

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Utah County detectives: I-15 stop leads to seizure of 5,500 fentanyl pills, weapons