Traffic stop on swerving car ends in felony drug bust

SANTA CLARA — A traffic stop in Santa Clara early Wednesday morning resulted in the arrest of a St. George man for possession of multiple drugs.

Ryan Merrihew booking photo posted Feb. 18, 2014 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff's Office, St. George News
Ryan Merrihew, booking photo posted Feb. 18, 2014 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

While on patrol at 1:08 a.m., Santa Clara Police Officer Todd O’Bray conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle after witnessing it weaving in and out of its lane of travel, O’Bray wrote in a probable cause statement supporting the arrest.

After stopping the car and speaking with the driver, O’Bray identified the car’s sole occupant as 28-year-old Ryan Merrihew, the statement said.

“Mr. Merrihew was slow to acknowledge me and was slurring his speech,” O’Bray said in the statement. “I had Mr. Merrihew perform standardized field sobriety (tests) and found that he appeared intoxicated.”

Dispatch also informed the officer that Merrihew’s driver’s license was denied, according to the statement.

While conducting a search on Merrihew, the officer discovered a bag at his waistline containing multiple drugs, O’Bray said in the statement. These drugs included methadone, marijuana, heroin and clonazepam — a prescription drug used to treat seizure and panic disorders.

All the drugs were separated into clear plastic baggies, the statement said. Merrihew also informed officers what was in each bag by identifying the substances for them.

After receiving consent to search the vehicle, officers additionally located a backpack in the back seat containing other drug-related items.

“Mr. Merrihew informed officers that it was his,” O’Bray said in the statement. “In the backpack was a scale and straw.”

Merrihew was arrested without incident and transported to the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility. He is charged with two third-degree felonies for possession of methadone and heroin; four class B misdemeanors for driving under the influence of, and possession of, marijuana and clonazepam, as well as possession of drug paraphernalia; and two class C misdemeanors for driving on a denied license and failure to stay in one lane on the road.

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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  • ladybugavenger February 18, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    Mandatory rehabilitation

    • Mesaizacd February 18, 2015 at 10:44 pm

      Dang mandatory rehabilitation fundraisers

  • fun bag February 18, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    better hide them drugs better next time. dang tweekers

  • sagemoon February 19, 2015 at 8:30 am

    Dang junkie. And what’s with the popularity of clonazepam all of a sudden? Wasn’t there a guy under the influence of it stumbling around burglarizing vehicles last week?

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