WASHINGTON COUNTY — A Minnesota man traveling along Interstate 15 Friday was arrested on drug distribution charges following a traffic stop after a Utah Highway Patrol trooper allegedly intercepted six packages of marijuana in the man’s vehicle.
At approximately 8:21 p.m., the trooper initiated a traffic stop of a vehicle just past Toquerville near northbound I-15 milepost 29 for speeding, according to a probable cause statement filed by UHP in support of the arrest.
The trooper talked with the driver, identified as Manuel Ocampo, of San Diego, California, and his passenger, identified as Roel Caburian Malapit, of St. Paul, Minnesota, the arresting officer wrote in a sworn statement.
Ocampo apologized for speeding and said he was in a hurry to get to his destination, the trooper stated.
While speaking with the occupants, the trooper smelled the odor of raw marijuana and asked Ocampo to exit the car to speak with him.
“He told me he was on his way to Chicago,” the trooper wrote in the statement. “I confronted him with the odor of marijuana and he said he’d had some in the car, but had used it all.”
A probable cause search of the vehicle was conducted, and six packages of marijuana were located in a duffle bag in the trunk of the car, the report stated. The marijuana allegedly weighed approximately 7 pounds.
Ocampo and Malapit were both arrested and transported to the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.
The Washington County Attorney’s Office filed an information in 5th District Court accusing Malapit of third-degree felony drug possession with the intent to distribute and class B misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
As of Wednesday, formal charges had not been filed against Ocampo, according to Utah Court documents. He was released from police custody.
As this report is published, Malapit remains in police custody and is expected to appear before 5th District Judge Jeffrey Wilcox for a hearing Monday afternoon.
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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