ST. GEORGE — A Colorado couple traveling through Washington County was arrested Saturday on second-degree felony charges of drug distribution after a trooper and his K-9 counterpart discovered four pounds of heroin concealed in the couple’s vehicle during a traffic stop on Interstate 15.
Just before midnight Saturday, a Utah Highway Patrol trooper initiated a traffic stop on a blue passenger car on northbound I-15 near milepost 6.5 for a traffic violation, according to a probable cause statement filed by the Highway Patrol in support of the arrests.
The trooper talked with the driver, identified as Adriana Acosta, and her passenger, identified as 24-year-old Francisco Robles, both of Pueblo, Colorado. When Acosta told the trooper she didn’t have a driver’s license, the report stated, the trooper asked her to come to his patrol car while he ran her information.
As the trooper was filling out a citation, he engaged Acosta in conversation and asked her about her trip.
“She stated they left from Pueblo on (Friday) and wanted to go to Vegas to get away and play slots,” the trooper wrote in the statement. “I asked why the short turn around in the trip. She stated she needed to get back to Colorado to pick her son up from her ex-boyfriend. She stated she was unemployed and her husband in the vehicle with her had been unemployed for a few months … .“
The trooper asked Acosta how she was paying for her trip to Las Vegas since the two were unemployed, the report stated, and she told him they were using money they had received from their tax refund.
The trooper then questioned Robles who told him a similar story. However, the trooper said he felt the stories seemed rehearsed.
Titan, a Utah Highway Patrol narcotics K-9, was then deployed around the exterior of the vehicle and indicated on the vehicle’s front right corner to the presence of drugs, according to the report. A hand search of the vehicle revealed four pounds of heroin stuffed inside the dash behind the glove box in four separate vacuumed-sealed packages.
With heroin selling for $6,000 to $8,000 an ounce, authorities estimate the confiscated heroin to be worth between $384,000 and $512,000.
Acosta and Robles were both arrested and booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.
Acosta was charged with second-degree felony drug distribution, class B misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia and two infractions for a signal violation and not obtaining a valid driver’s license.
Robles was charged with second-degree felony drug distribution and class B misdemeanor for possession of drug paraphernalia.
The couple made their initial court appearance Monday afternoon in 5th District Court.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.