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Highway drug bust nets hundreds of pounds of marijuana near Coalville

356 pounds of marijuana discovered and confiscated on I-80 near Coalville. Picture credit: UHP

COALVILLE- The Utah Highway Patrol confiscated 356 pounds of marijuana Monday morning.

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In a statement, UHP said a truck was pulled over around 7:30 AM on I-80 near Coalville, Utah, for a simple lane violation.

“After speaking to the driver of the vehicle, the UHP trooper became suspicious of criminal activity,” UHP Lt. Todd Royce said in the statement, “In his conversation with the driver the trooper was made aware the pickup truck was a rental from a third party and was traveling with a group of four personally owned cars.”

At that point the Department of Public Safety said the trooper’s K-9 led him to a false bottom in the bed of the truck. Underneath the trooper found 356 pounds of marijuana.

“In Utah that’d be about 890 thousand dollars, wholesale,” said Major Tyler Cotter, with the Department of Public Safety.

He said the driver had a Minnesota driver’s license identifying him as Joseph Basiago. The truck was also rented out of Minnesota, but under another person’s name. At this point, Cotter said DPS believes the marijuana was headed back to Minnesota and was possibly coming from the west coast.

356 pounds of marijuana discovered and confiscated on I-80 near Coalville.
Picture credit: UHP

“Utah was not the destination for the narcotics. It was a pass through,” Cotter said. “We’re trying to figure out if he was traveling with other people. He was the only occupant of this vehicle, we believe, but he may have been traveling with other vehicles.”

Up until now, Cotter said Basiago only had a minor criminal history. He said this arrest will likely land the man with a second degree felony charge.