ST. GEORGE — The Iron County Sheriff’s Office intercepted approximately 26 pounds of methamphetamine and 9 pounds of cocaine with an estimated street value of $1.6 million during a late-night traffic stop on Interstate 15.
At approximately 11 p.m. Sunday, an Iron County Sheriff’s deputy stopped a vehicle for speeding 0n northbound I-15 near milepost 60, according to a statement issued by the Sheriff’s Office.
While talking with the driver, the deputy became suspicious of possible drug trafficking, authorities said. Cedar City Police responded to the traffic stop with a narcotics K-9 to conduct a “sniff” of the vehicle.
When the driver and passenger – identified as 28-year-old Roberto Lorenzo-Ruiz and 38-year-old Manuel Gallardo, both of Los Angeles – exited the vehicle, they fled the scene on foot, officials said. The two men crossed a 10-foot-tall deer fence before disappearing into a Cedar City neighborhood.
A search of the area was conducted by the Sheriff’s Office, Cedar City and Enoch City police departments, along with Utah Highway Patrol, but the two men were not immediately found.
The search continued for approximately three hours, the Sheriff’s Office said, noting that a citizen alert, or Reverse 911, was issued to residents in the area, advising citizens to lock their doors and be on the lookout for the suspects.
At approximately 9:50 a.m. Monday, Cedar City Police received a report of a suspicious person in the area of the Bicentennial Softball Complex, 660 W. 1045 North, officials said.
When police officers and sheriff’s deputies arrived in the area, they located two men matching the description of the two suspects who had fled the vehicle.
When deputies approached the suspects, a foot pursuit ensued. Both men were subsequently apprehended.
Lorenzo-Ruiz and Gallardo were arrested and charged with drug possession with the intent to distribute and failure to stop at command of police.
Authorities said a search of the suspects’ vehicle revealed the enormous quantity of drugs.
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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