Handwritten license plate, tinted windows lead to Iron County drug bust

Sep 3, 2021, 8:08 AM | Updated: 12:28 pm
handwritten license plate on blue nissan altima...
Photo: Utah Highway Patrol

IRON COUNTY, Utah — One person is in jail without bail after a handwritten license plate and other problems with a car on I-15 led to the discovery of a large amount of possible methamphetamine. 

Handwritten license plate raises red flag

In a probable cause affidavit filed in support of the arrest, a Utah Highway Patrol trooper said he first spotted the car, with its handwritten license plate, headed northbound on I-15 on Saturday, Aug. 28. In addition to the homemade tag, Trooper Scott Mackelprang wrote that he noticed illegally dark tinting on the windows, including over the third brake light in the rear window. Additionally, he said the driver followed a semi with a distance of under two seconds. 

After pulling over the vehicle, Mackelprang said he noticed possible signs of drug use.

“I noted that his eyes were glassy, bloodshot, and red,” Mackelprang wrote. “He had facial tremors and was sweating.” 

A preliminary search of the vehicle uncovered two small packages of a white substance believed to be methamphetamine.  

Accusations of acting as a drug mule

In addition to the invalid license plate, UHP said the driver’s California license was either suspended or revoked. The car did not have a valid registration. A further search of the vehicle uncovered 3 more large bundles of suspected methamphetamine. In all, it added up to more than 7 pounds.

The trooper arrested the driver, identified as 41-year-old Francisco Velasquez, into custody, and impounded the car.

In the probable cause statement, Mackelprang said Velasquez admitted to using meth, and receiving $2,000 to haul the drugs, which tested positive for meth, into the US from Mexico. 

Velasquez made an initial court appearance on Tuesday where the judge ordered him to remain in jail without bail. He faces charges of felony drug distribution along with several misdemeanor drug charges. 


We want to hear from you.

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

Today’s Top Stories

Crime, Police + Courts

little cottonwood canyon pictured, avalanche risk there is high...
Devin Oldroyd

Backcountry skier dead after fatal fall in Little Cottonwood Canyon

A backcountry skier is dead after "tumbling a significant distance," according to the Unified Police Department. The incident occurred near Lisa Falls.
23 hours ago
SLCPD cruiser...
Chandler Holt

SLCPD officer witnesses wrong-way drunk driver crash into embankment

At around 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning, an SLCPD officer witnessed a 2009 black Ford F-150 traveling at a high rate of speed in the wrong lane. 
23 hours ago
This photo purports to show the suspected Chinese balloon flying over Mills River, North Carolina, ...
Heather Chen and Wayne Chang, CNN

China says it ‘reserves the right’ to deal with ‘similar situations’ after US shoot down suspected spy balloon

China says it "reserves the right" to deal with "similar situations" following the United States' decision to shoot down its high-altitude balloon.
23 hours ago
The Goonies House...
Taylor Romine and Ralph Ellis, CNN

Man wanted for leaving a dead fish at ‘The Goonies’ house saved by Coast Guard in daring rescue

A man wanted by police in an incident at a house featured in "The Goonies" was the subject of a Coast Guard rescue when he was tossed from a stolen boat as it capsized, authorities said.
2 days ago
SLCPD said the driver is fully cooperating with the investigation and the children received non-lif...
Chandler Holt

SLCPD makes arrest connected to fatal stabbing case

SLCPD announced the arrest of 26-year-old Ivy Chase Grant today. Grant was booked into Salt Lake County Metro Jail on a charge of obstruction of justice. 
2 days ago
Salt Lake City Police say three sticks of dynamite were safely removed from a house this week by it...
Mark Jones

Three sticks of dynamite removed from Salt Lake City home

Three sticks of dynamite were removed from a Salt Lake City home on Wednesday, the SLCPD announced. The dynamite have been seized for investigation.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Handwritten license plate, tinted windows lead to Iron County drug bust