K-9 Titan intercepts 25 more pounds of drugs on I-15

ST. GEORGE – Two California men were arrested early Saturday morning after a Utah Highway Patrol narcotics K-9 sniffed out 25 pounds of marijuana in their vehicle during a traffic stop on Interstate 15 in St. George.

Demesio Villa-Tapia, of Montclair, California, booking photo posted Feb. 20, 2016 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George
Demesio Villa-Tapia, of Montclair, California, booking photo posted Feb. 20, 2016 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George

Just before 2:30 a.m., a trooper initiated a traffic stop of a vehicle along northbound I-15 near milepost 9 for traffic violations, according to a probable cause statement filed by the Utah Highway Patrol in support of the arrests.

The driver of the vehicle was identified as 25-year-old Demesio Villa-Tapia, of Montclair, California. His passenger was identified as 29-year-old Abel Tapia-Palomera, of Anaheim, California.

While the trooper talked with the driver, another trooper deployed Titan, his K-9 counterpart, around the outside of the vehicle, according to the statement. The K-9 alerted to the presence of drugs inside the vehicle.

During a subsequent search of the vehicle, authorities located 24 individually wrapped packages of a “green leafy substance” which later tested positive for marijuana, the report stated.

Together, the marijuana packages weighed a total of 25 pounds, according to the report.

Abel Tapia-Palomera, of Anaheim, California, booking photo posted Feb. 20, 2016 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News
Abel Tapia-Palomera, of Anaheim, California, booking photo posted Feb. 20, 2016 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

In Utah, one pound of marijuana is valued at anywhere from $1,000 for low-quality to upwards of $5,000 for very high-quality, according to Narcotics News. Thus, the estimated total value on the 25 pounds seized during Saturday’s stop is between $25,000 and $125,000, depending on its quality.

Both men were arrested and booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.

Villa-Tapia was charged with third-degree felony drug possession with the intent to distribute and a class B misdemeanor for possession of drug paraphernalia, along with two infractions for traffic violations.

Tapia-Palomera was charged with second-degree felony drug possession with the intent to distribute and class B misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Email: kscott@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

3 Comments

  • RealMcCoy February 23, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    Don’t you love this new influx of culture?
    #CelebrateDiversity

  • ladybugavenger February 23, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    Interception! These 2 people looked pissed. Y’all didn’t have a prescription for the cocaine. Plus, marijuana isn’t legal in all 50 states! Don’t make marijuana ugly by using and selling cocaine! Legalize marijuana and get rid meth, cocaine, painkillers and the rest of those stupid life killing drugs!

  • Jose March 3, 2016 at 2:13 am

    Do these cops have anything better to do?

Leave a Reply