POLICE

Utah man avoids drug charges for 3 years — until he was arrested for allegedly refusing a mask

Apr 30, 2021, 3:17 PM
A Utah man was arrested in 2018 for drug possession, but was never charged. That is, not until he w...
A Utah man was arrested in 2018 for drug possession, but was never charged. That is, not until he was arrested in December for allegedly refusing a mask. (Photo: Unified Police)
(Photo: Unified Police)

SALT LAKE CITY — Three years ago, a Utah man was arrested after police say they found more than 100 pounds of marijuana and more than $50,000 in his apartment. But he was never charged — that is, not until he was arrested in December after police say he refused to wear a mask inside a Provo store. 

Utahn arrested for drug possession, but never charged

This comes about nearly three years after Elijah Brandt Webb, 38, was arrested. Police seized about 125 pounds of marijuana and more than $50,000 from his basement apartment at the time, according to charging documents. Webb began renting the Riverton apartment on April 30, 2018 when his landlord began suspecting he had drugs. 

By May 3, the landlord called Unified police to report his suspicions. Although Webb told the landlord he was only making tea, the landlord reportedly collected some evidence of marijuana while Webb wasn’t home to give to police. 

The next day, police served a search warrant.

Officers arrested Webb, but formal charges were never filed against him. It’s unclear why, but Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said it may be because the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined federal charges — handing the case back to the police detective to file state charges. 

“The assigned detective dropped the ball,” Gill told KSL.com. “This is one of those cases that, but for an intrepid reporter, would have gone missing. If you had not looked into this, this case would not have been filed.”

Utah man arrested after allegedly refusing a mask — and KSL finds criminal history

Webb made the news again on Dec. 7 when he was arrested in Provo for allegedly refusing to wear a mask inside a store and then refusing to leave, according to police. 

According to the police affidavit, Webb was at a bank inside a Smith’s store when the manager asked him to wear a mask. Webb refused and then “started talking to customers, questioning them as to why they were wearing masks,” according to charging documents. 

The manager told police Webb began “causing a scene.” The police were called after Webb refused to leave the building five times. 

KSL.com initially reported on the Provo arrest when they learned about Webb’s previous drug-related arrest. After calling the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office, reporters learned the case was never filed. 

The case happened around the same time Herriman formed its own police department, when all of the detectives on the case left to work for the Herriman Police Department. Unified Police Lt. Melody Cutler said the case must’ve gotten lost in the shuffle. 

Police move forward with both cases

The drug-related case was reviewed earlier in April, where Webb was charged in 3rd District Court with a third-degree felony of drug possession with intent to distribute. His initial appearance in court is scheduled for May 4. 

In the mask case, Webb was charged with a class C misdemeanor of disorderly conduct in Provo Justice Court. His next court hearing is set for May 12. 

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Utah man avoids drug charges for 3 years — until he was arrested for allegedly refusing a mask