Investigators make major drug busts on I-80 in Utah

Aug 19, 2020, 6:26 PM | Updated: Dec 30, 2022, 11:22 am

Drug Busts I-80 Utah...

(Some of the drugs seized during a three-day operation by Utah Highway Patrol. Credit: Utah DPS)

(Some of the drugs seized during a three-day operation by Utah Highway Patrol. Credit: Utah DPS)

TOOELE COUNTY, Utah – State police make several major drug busts in Utah near the border at Wendover on the I-80.  Investigators seized hundreds of pounds of drugs and federal prosecutors say these busts are just a few examples of a major problem Utah is dealing with.

In late July, a worker at the Port of Entry near Wendover noticed a strong smell of marijuana coming from one of the semi-trucks.  Utah Highway Patrol troopers were called to investigate and reportedly found 341 packages of raw marijuana, vacuum-sealed in one-pound packages. 

(The vacuum-sealed bags of marijuana seized at the POrt of Entry. Credit: U.S. Attorney’s Office)

“If you stack all those 341 packages of one pound of marijuana, it’s about the size of a patrol car,” according to U.S. Attorney for Utah John Huber.

Troopers also say they found over 12 hundred THC vape cartridges, 150 THC chocolate bars, and 126 packages of TCH edibles.  The couple, Florin Goron and Claudia Marie De Marco were both indicted for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and face a minimum of five years in federal prison.

Huber says, “Five years in federal prison should be a deterrent, but the money, the profit involved here is just too much to resist.  People are willing to take a risk of five years in prison to run a load like this.”

Officials estimate the street value of that much raw marijuana could be roughly $1 million.  Huber says there are drug havens on the west coast that can’t control the black market and the overproduction they created, so Utah is left to fend for itself.

In a separate case, two people were arrested for transporting over 200 pounds of marijuana on I-80 in Tooele County.  Court documents show James Garth and Barbara Wilmoth were pulled over for speeding, but a K9 officer found bags full of marijuana in a BMW they were hauling.  Officers also allegedly found THC wax and hundreds of THC vaping cartridges.  Garth reportedly admitted he was paid to transport the drugs across from California to Utah.

Over the span of three days in August, officials from the Department of Public Safety say they seized 556 pounds of cannabis, 37 pounds of edibles, 51 grams of Ecstasy/Molly, 18 grams of mushrooms, 14 grams of cocaine as well as two handguns.  In all, 17 people were arrested.

(Some of the drugs and edibles seized by UHP. Credit: DPS)

Department Commissioner Jess Anderson says Utah is still the Crossroads of the West for illegal activity because of I-15, I-80, and I-70 that connect our state to the east and west coasts.

“What we often find is that drugs are coming west and going east, illegal money comes east and goes back to the west,” he says.

The drug trade is an ever-changing business, and Anderson says it’s hard to predict which drugs will be found by their officers.  However, they’re always working to determine which agencies are behind the trafficking.

Anderson says, “Sometimes, that [includes] human trafficking, it sometimes leads to money laundering and sometimes it leads to illegal drugs.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Crime, Police + Courts

A car ran into a house in Hurricane Sunday morning, police say. No injuries to the driver or the oc...

Devin Oldroyd

Car crashes into house in Hurricane Sunday morning

A car ran into a house in Hurricane Sunday morning, police say. No injuries to the driver or the occupants of the house were reported.

8 hours ago

FILE — Handcuffs hang from a rail inside the Wasatch entry of the old Utah State Prison in Draper...

Mary Culbertson, KSLTV

Man accused of manslaughter after allegedly selling fentanyl that led to overdose

One man was arrested and accused of manslaughter after authorities believe he sold fentanyl to a victim who died of overdose.

9 hours ago

Charles E. Escalera, 21...

Michelle Watson and Maria Sole Campinoti, CNN

Kentucky man arrested in connection with death of Campbellsville University student

A man has been arrested in connection with the death of a student at Campbellsville University in Kentucky.

13 hours ago

A man looks for a break in traffic as he crosses 300 West at a busy pedestrian area between Walmart...

Kennedy Camarena

Three pedestrian involved car accidents have SLCPD reminding the public about road safety

After three car accidents occurred within the same week, all with injury to pedestrians, SLCPD is reminding road users about road safety.

1 day ago

SWAT officers with the Salt Lake City Police Department stand in a driveway after they and patrol o...

Kennedy Camarena

Suspect arrested by SLCPD and SWAT after threatening medical workers with a gun

Salt Lake City Police Department and their SWAT team were able to safely arrest a man who threatened Gold Cross employees with a gun.

2 days ago

Former President Donald Trump walks on stage during the 2024 NRB International Christian Media Conv...

Fredreka Schouten, CNN

Wisconsin ethics panel recommends criminal prosecution for a Trump fundraising committee

A Wisconsin ethics panel is recommending that prosecutors pursue charges against one of Donald Trump’s fundraising arms.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Investigators make major drug busts on I-80 in Utah