SALT LAKE CITY — More than 100 pounds of meth with an estimated street value of more than $2.2 million has been seized in three separate drug busts by the Utah Highway Patrol in just two days.
In addition, between 500 to 1,000 Oxycodone pills were also recovered and seven people arrested, the UHP stated.
The active week started Tuesday when troopers stopped two vehicles in the same location along I-70 about two hours apart. Both vehicles were pulled over for traffic violations.
“Both traffic stops yielded large amounts of methamphetamine, totaling 61 pounds,” the UHP said in a prepared statement.
Troopers said the vehicles were not connected to each other.
Two men were taken into custody during the first stop. Investigators believe the drugs from that vehicle originated in Southern California and were being delivered to Canton, Ohio, the UHP stated.
Aaron Guillermo Bernal Yarleque, 21, and Charlton Donnell Keith, 36, were arrested for investigation of drug distribution.
Yarleque was pulled over for going 84 mph in a 60 mph zone, according to an Emery County Jail report.
The trooper became suspicious of additional criminal activity after talking to the men.
“I learned the driver and passenger didn’t know each other, but the driver admitted to taking Mr. Keith back to Ohio for a small fee,” the report states.
A drug sniffing K-9 was called to the scene and gave an indication of drugs after doing an exterior sweep of the vehicle.
“I located two large plastic-style containers concealed down in the spare tire well. Each large plastic container contained two large packages wrapped in cellophane and consistent with methamphetamine,” according to the report.
In the second stop, troopers believe meth was being transported from Compton, California, to Omaha, Nebraska, according to the UHP.
Ronald Earl Crismon, 72, of Oregon, and Stephanie Suzanne Vanduker, of Washington, were arrested for investigation of drug distribution.
“Ms. Vanduker was shaking badly when she handed me her driver’s license and her physical signs of nervousness increased throughout my contact with her,” the arresting trooper wrote in the jail booking report.
Approximately 41 pounds of meth were found in a suitcase and a cooler, the report states.
“(Vanduker) stated that they were each being paid $3,500 to transport the drugs to Nebraska. She stated she knew it was drugs but didn’t know what kind,” according to the report.
Vanduker and Crismon were formally charged Thursday in 7th District Court with drug distribution, a second-degree felony; and possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor, Vanduker received additional charges of marijuana possession, a class B misdemeanor; and speeding, an infraction.
Then on Wednesday, about 5 p.m., another vehicle was stopped on I-15 in Iron County and another 39 pounds of meth was discovered.
Francisco Robledo, 34, Robert Anthony Ball, 25, and Miranda Renee Gammill, 36, were arrested for investigation of drug distribution.
Their vehicle was pulled over for minor traffic violations, according to an Iron County Jail booking report. When the trooper spotted drug paraphernalia in plain sight in the car, he conducted a search and found 39 pounds of meth in the trunk, the report states.