Utah troopers make 3 busts in 3 days, seize 418 pounds of poorly concealed drugs

Posted at 5:32 PM, Aug 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-26 19:32:33-04

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah -- Police made three significant drug busts in three days, all in one county.

The first happened Monday in Washington County near St. George. Troopers seized 28 pounds of methamphetamine after stopping a Jeep Liberty for speeding.

Lt. Jared Garcia with the Utah Highway Patrol said what's particularly disturbing is that the driver, 29-year-old Salvador Santana, made little effort to hide the drugs.

"Generally the traffickers try a little bit harder to conceal it through man-made compartments or through natural voids in the vehicle, where in this case it’s in the back seat in a duffle bag," he said.

The same goes for 41-year-old Paul Vang, who was pulled over Thursday for following too close. Troopers smelled marijuana and found 370 pounds just sitting in plastic bags in the back seat.

"It's a highly profitable business," Garcia said. "Three hundred and sixty pounds of marijuana is worth a lot of money on the street. Twenty-eight pounds of methamphetamine at street value is probably worth almost a million dollars."

Also Thursday, troopers pulled over a white Dodge Charger for failing to signal. They found 20 pounds of methamphetamine sitting in luggage in the back seat.

"We have three major drug trafficking corridors that come through Utah," Garcia said. "We have interstate 15, 70 and 80."

Troopers believe the 28 pounds of meth was picked up in Los Angeles and headed to Michigan.

They say the 370 pounds of marijuana was heading from San Diego to Philadelphia.

The 20 pounds of meth found Thursday was picked up in Las Vegas and headed to Salt Lake City. UHP did not want to release the name of the driver headed to Salt Lake City because they're are still investigating the case and plan to take it further.