ST. GEORGE — A man police say was transporting drugs along Interstate 15 allegedly attempted to flee in a vehicle during a traffic stop in Washington County last week.
At approximately 6:20 a.m. Thursday, a Utah Highway Patrol trooper initiated a traffic stop after clocking a vehicle traveling 83 mph in a 70-mph zone on I-15 near milepost 3, according to a probable cause statement filed by UHP in support of the arrest.
The trooper found the vehicle was operated by a female driver and a male passenger – later identified as Elijah Runako Boyd, Chicago, Illinois, according to the statement.
While speaking with the man and woman, the trooper smelled the odor of “raw marijuana” and questioned the vehicle occupants about the presence of drugs, which the two denied, the report states.
When questioned separately, the woman reportedly told authorities the two were headed to Salt Lake City to visit a friend of hers, while Boyd told the trooper the two were headed to Colorado, the report states.
The trooper had the duo stand outside of the vehicle while backup arrived and the trooper conducted a search of the vehicle, the arresting officer wrote in the sworn statement, adding:
A few second later, I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. Thinking it was the deputy coming to assist with the search, I continued to search. The driver side door opened, and I quickly realized that it was Boyd. He entered the car and attempted to start it. I blocked him as he tried to push the start button.
A deputy with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office arrived and assisted the trooper during the struggle, the report states. The trooper was able to get a hold of Boyd’s right arm while the deputy grabbed Boyd’s left arm and the two struggled to remove him from the driver’s seat and take him into custody.
“During the struggle, the woman was freaking out, yelling at (Boyd),” the trooper wrote. “I tried to calm her down.”
In a bag found inside the vehicle, belonging to the woman, authorities located a marijuana grinder and rolling papers, which the woman admitted belonged to her, according to the statement.
After searching the remaining two duffel bags that had Boyd’s name on them, authorities located four vacuum-sealed bags containing marijuana, weighing 8 pounds, the report states.
“Based on the reaction that (the woman) had, I felt that she was not involved in the transportation of marijuana,” the trooper wrote. The woman was subsequently issued a citation for speeding, driving with an expired driver’s license and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Boyd, however, was arrested and transported to the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.
The Washington County Attorney’s Office filed an information in 5th District Court accusing Boyd of third-degree felony drug possession with the intent to distribute, class A misdemeanor obstructing justice, and class B misdemeanor interference with an arresting officer.
Boyd was subsequently released from police custody on $5,680 bail pending trial. He is scheduled to appear before 5th District Judge Jeffrey Wilcox April 3 for his initial appearance.
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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