CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Washington County Sheriff’s Office makes drug bust during traffic stop

Jun 21, 2022, 12:02 PM | Updated: Dec 29, 2022, 11:31 am

Speed limit sign that says the limit is 80 mph. The Washington County sheriff's office made a drug ...

Motorists drive along an 80 mph section of I-15 South of Nephi Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012. Photo credit: Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News.

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah — The Washington County Sheriff’s Office announced it had made a drug bust including over 10 pounds of suspected narcotics during a traffic stop on I-15 last Thursday.

The bust happened thanks to the well-trained eye of a sheriff’s deputy. 

On Thursday, June 16, that deputy had an eye on a car that was traveling north near the Hurricane Exit, in the left lane going slower than the normal flow of traffic. 

The speed limit in that area is 80, the driver was going 73, according to a probable cause statement released on Monday. The statement said the deputy made a traffic stop due to the lane violation.

It did not take long for the deputy to notice the passenger’s seat appeared to be a few inches higher that the factory-installed floorboard with a seam separating the two areas clearly visible to the deputy.

The probable cause statement said the driver consented to a search of his car.

According to the St. George News, one of the deputies leading the search heard a deep echo when knocking on the passenger-side floorboard that led to a void in the floorboard consistent with after-market modifications. 

The deputy noticed through a digital scope several large bundles wrapped in plastic and taped up with brown packing tape.  Investigators discovered two disconnected wires that when connected set off an automatic unlocking mechanism that allowed deputies access to the secret stash of narcotics.

That search found three large bags containing what police believe was 8.5 pounds of meth, 26 bundles of fentanyl pills weighing roughly 18.5 pounds, as well as two large “kilo” size bricks of suspected cocaine that weighed a total of 5 pounds. 

Arrest records said that the driver, 25-year-old Rame Samir Darshalabi, admitted to being paid $3,000 to drive the narcotics to Denver.

Darshalabi was arrested and taken into Purgatory Correctional Facility. Darshalabi is under suspicion of three second-degree felony counts of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and one misdemeanor count of altering a vehicle compartment for contraband. He is being held without bail.

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Washington County Sheriff’s Office makes drug bust during traffic stop