ST. GEORGE — The driver of a vehicle traveling along Interstate 15 Friday was arrested on drug distribution charges after a narcotics K-9 intercepted a large amount of cocaine being transported in a secret compartment in the vehicle.
At approximately 12:35 a.m., a trooper initiated a traffic stop of a vehicle on northbound I-15 near milepost 7 for a traffic violation, according to a probable cause statement filed by the Utah Highway Patrol in support of the arrest.
The driver of the vehicle was identified as 40-year-old Arturo Rangel-Flores, of Park City.
During the course of the traffic stop, the trooper deployed a narcotics K-9 to run around the exterior of the vehicle, according to the report. The K-9 indicated the presence of drugs, spurring a probable cause search of the vehicle.
“A search of the vehicle was conducted and a manufactured compartment was located in the right sliding door,” the arresting trooper wrote in the statement.
The compartment was accessed by an electronic latch, the report stated, and a kilogram of cocaine was located inside.
In Utah, the value of one kilogram of cocaine, which is a 1,000 grams, is between $23,000 and $29,000, according to Narcotics News.
Rangel-Flores was arrested and booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.
He was charged with second-degree felony drug possession with the intent to distribute, along with a class A misdemeanor for altering a vehicle compartment for contraband.
Rangle-Flores made his initial appearance in 5th District Court Friday afternoon. As this report is published, he remains in police custody.
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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