CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Traffic stop in St. George results in seizure of fentanyl pills worth $2 million

Oct 7, 2022, 11:00 AM | Updated: Dec 29, 2022, 11:24 am

FILE: The bust of 30 pounds of fentanyl in American Fork on March 21 highlights the drug problem Ut...

FILE: The bust of 30 pounds of fentanyl in American Fork on March 21 highlights the drug problem Utah is facing. The DEA said it is on track to see double the amount of fentanyl in the state this year compared to last year. (Washington County Sheriff's Office)

(Washington County Sheriff's Office)

Update: 7:24 p.m. 

A news release from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office says 60,000 fentanyl pills were seized in the traffic stop that had an estimated street value of $2 million.

The suspects taken into custody were identified as 19-year-old Rigoberto Beltran Garibay, of Mexico, and 39-year-old Karen Yvonne Alverez, of Colorado. The news release states that Garibay was the driver of the vehicle. 

Both have been booked into the Purgatory Correctional Facility for investigation of drug distribution.

Our previous reporting

ST. GEORGE, Utah — What began as a routine traffic stop Wednesday ended in a drug bust worth over a million dollars. 

The traffic stop happened northbound on 1-15 near exit eight.

One deputy noticed a vehicle with tinted passenger windows, a traffic violation in the state of Utah. The car then failed to use its passing signal. 

The driver was accompanied by a female passenger.

After Officer Dan Montgomery pulled the two over, he invited the driver back to his cruiser to provide information for the stop. At this point, Officer N. Tanner deployed his narcotics detection canine to do an exterior sniff of the car.

The K-9’s indication of drugs led to a search where police found fentanyl pills and a dollar bill with traces of cocaine. 

62 packages of pills containing approx. 1,000 in each package weighed 15 pounds. The pills were over the limit of personal use. According to police, the amount is consistent with smuggling, transporting for distribution, and sales. 

Booked without bail, the driver and passenger both have ties to Mexico, leading police to believe they may try and flee the court’s jurisdiction. 

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Traffic stop in St. George results in seizure of fentanyl pills worth $2 million