ST. GEORGE — In what police believe to be the largest meth bust in Utah history, a Canada man was arrested Tuesday on Interstate 15 after authorities seized more than $2 million worth of methamphetamine during a traffic stop.
Taylorsville Street Crimes detectives received information from Homeland Security investigators that a vehicle carrying a large quantity of methamphetamine was travelling through Utah on its way to Canada, according to a statement issued by the Unified Police Department Wednesday.
At approximately 5 p.m. Tuesday, detectives located the vehicle on northbound I-15 near the Salt Lake County-Utah County border and conducted a traffic stop for following too close, officials said.
When questioned, the driver – identified as 56-year-old Blake Arcand – told detectives he had flown from Canada to Los Angeles two days prior and rented a car to drive back to Canada, according to a probable cause statement filed by the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office in support of the arrest.
Arcand told authorities that he lives in British Columbia but was headed to North Dakota to meet his wife, according to the statement.
While speaking with Arcand, detectives requested a narcotics K-9 respond to the scene, police said. When the K-9 was deployed around the vehicle, the drug sniffing dog alerted to the presence of illegal drugs inside the vehicle.
During a subsequent search of the vehicle’s trunk, authorities located a large suitcase with “multiple packages wrapped in cling wrap” that had “large white crystal shrouds” inside, officials said. Tests revealed the suitcase contained 68 pounds of methamphetamine.
“The seizure is the largest ever of methamphetamine in the state of Utah, to our knowledge,” the Unified Police Department said Wednesday. “… The street value of the meth seized is over $2 million.”
Police also located several brand new backpacks and a notepad with the names of several cities in Wyoming and Montana written on it. Investigators said they believe Arcand was going to deliver meth to each of the listed cities, using the backpacks to hand off the drugs.
Arcand was arrested and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on state charges. Ultimately, Arcand will be federally charged with drug trafficking crimes, officials said, adding that Arcand has a history of smuggling narcotics into Canada from the U.S.
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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