NEW HARMONY – While investigating a suspicious vehicle in New Harmony early Monday morning, Washington County Sheriff’s deputies located a man prohibited from possessing firearms in possession of a handgun, drugs and paraphernalia.
According to the probable cause statement filed by Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Forrest Van West in connection with the arrest, while patrolling the area, deputies noticed two vehicles sitting in the Texaco parking lot just off of Interstate 15, around 3:17 a.m. Monday. The business was secure, but deputies found Jorge Mendoza, 31, of Las Vegas, Nevada, sitting in the passenger seat of an idling pickup truck.
Upon seeing the deputies, Mendoza reached over and turned off the pickup truck. Deputies approached him in the vehicle to be sure he was all right, the statement said.
While speaking to Mendoza, deputies noticed an odor of marijuana and a pipe laying on the floor, as well as signs that Mendoza was impaired. Mendoza then admitted he had a pistol concealed underneath the seat of the vehicle.
The deputies asked Mendoza to step out of his vehicle and perform a set of standardized field sobriety tests. After completing the tests, Mendoza was found to be too impaired to operate a motor vehicle under Utah law.
Mendoza was placed under arrest. He admitted there was more paraphernalia in his vehicle as well as in his pockets. Deputies searched him and found a small glass container containing methamphetamine.
The vehicle was inventoried by deputies prior to being impounded, and additional drugs and paraphernalia were found. According to the statement, Mendoza admitted to using meth, heroin, marijuana and crushed prescription pills.
Mendoza was transported to Washington County’s Purgatory Correctional facility, where he was booked on one class-B misdemeanor charge of possessing paraphernalia, two third-degree felony counts and one class-B misdemeanor charge for possessing a controlled substance, one class-B misdemeanor charge for driving with a measurable amount of a controlled substance, and a third-degree felony charge for weapons possession of a category two person.
Utah law states that a category two person is classified as having been convicted of any felony, being an unlawful user of a controlled substance as defined by code, or being in possession of a dangerous weapon and knowingly and intentionally in unlawful possession of a schedule one or two controlled substance.
As of Tuesday evening, Mendoza is still in custody. His bail is set at $16,954.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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