CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

UHP finds 30 pounds of methamphetamine inside vehicle’s gas tank

Jun 1, 2022, 7:42 PM | Updated: Dec 29, 2022, 11:32 am

A 43-year-old man was taken into custody by Utah Highway Patrol troopers over the weekend when it w...

A 43-year-old man was taken into custody by Utah Highway Patrol troopers over the weekend when it was discovered he was transporting 30 pounds of meth inside the vehicle's gas tank. Photo credit: Utah Highway Patrol

IRON COUNTY, Utah — Utah Highway Patrol (UHP) troopers took a suspected drug trafficker into custody last weekend after discovering 30 pounds of methamphetamine hidden inside the gas tank of the vehicle being driven. 

According to the UHP, a gray Volkswagen Jetta with Colorado license plates was traveling too close to a semi-truck Saturday around 9:30 p.m.

A UHP trooper made a traffic stop near milepost 88 on I-15 in Iron County. As the trooper approached the vehicle, he immediately could smell the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. 

The suspect, identified as 43-year-old Javier Lopez, told police that there was probably still a marijuana container in the vehicle. And he didn’t possess a medical marijuana card. 

Meth inside the gas tank

According to the UHP, the troopers then conducted a probable-cause search. During the search, the troopers discovered 30 pounds of methamphetamine inside the vehicle’s gas tank. The UHP said there were 30 different packages each weighing 1 pound. 

After waving his Miranda rights, the suspect admitted that there were 30 packages. The UHP also said the suspect also admitted he was being paid to deliver the methamphetamine.

According to the UHP, methamphetamine has a street value between $556,000 and $1.1 million. 

The UHP said the suspect has no ties whatsoever to Iron County. All of his connections are in Colorado and Texas, according to the UHP.

According to the probable cause statement, the suspect has been booked into the Iron County Jail on suspicion of possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance. That is a second-degree felony. He was also booked on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance, a class A misdemeanor, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

“There is a high likelihood with the seriousness of the charges that the driver would flee the jurisdiction of the court and not return,” the probable cause stated. 

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UHP finds 30 pounds of methamphetamine inside vehicle’s gas tank