UHP: Man arrested in St. George with large duffel bags full of drugs

Stock image | St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A 23-year-old man was arrested Sunday after authorities allegedly located more than 40 pounds of marijuana in his vehicle during a routine traffic stop in St. George.

Mario Ocampo, of Santa Ana, California, booking photo posted March 11, 2018 | Photo courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

The driver of an SUV was traveling on northbound Interstate 15 when he reportedly left the freeway at Exit 8 and made an illegal turn onto St. George Boulevard, according to a probable cause statement filed by Utah Highway Patrol in support of the arrest.

The driver – identified as Mario Ocampo, of Santa Ana, California – was subsequently pulled over by law enforcement in the Wendy’s fast food restaurant parking lot.

“I immediately smelled raw marijuana coming from the vehicle,” the arresting trooper wrote in the sworn statement. “The driver said it was because of his vape smoking device, which he handed to me.”

Authorities had Ocampo exit the SUV while they searched the vehicle for illegal substances, the report states. During the search, authorities allegedly located Percocet and Xanax pills which Ocampo admitted he did not have a prescription for.

In the back of the vehicle, authorities located two large black duffel bags that “took up the entire rear hatch/seat area of the vehicle,” the trooper wrote in the statement, adding:

The bags contained approximately 35 pounds of marijuana. In the middle row of seats, I located about 6.5 pounds of marijuana THC/wax packaged in bulk and in hundreds of individual gram packages.

Ocampo allegedly told authorities he was transporting the marijuana to a dispensary in Colorado, the report states. He 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 Ocampo of second-degree felony drug possession with intent to distribute, third-degree felony drug possession with intent to distribute, class A misdemeanor drug possession, class B misdemeanor drug possession, and class B misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

Ocampo was subsequently released from police custody Monday on $12,210 bail pending trial. He is scheduled to appear before 5th District Judge John Walton March 19 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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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • NickDanger March 14, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    Yeah, marijuana is against the law. Here. There is some irony in the fact that if this guy had been pulled over 8 miles away from where he got pulled over, he’d have gotten a “Have a nice day” and gone about his business.

    At some point, Utah, and many other states, are going to have to get on-board with the national movement to legalize this so-called “drug.” The American public (you remember them, don’t you, lawmakers? is OVERWHELMING against the continued criminalization of this harmless substance. I don’t smoke it myself, but I certainly did when I was younger, and I just can’t see how anyone can continue to justify charging people with felonies over it. It’s nothing more than a pleasant distraction. I guarantee you I’d rather be out on the road with 10,000 stoners than with one drunk.

    The general tone I am getting from the states where marijuana has been legalized is that they’re doing the public some kind of favor by legalizing it. Wrong. That’s like untying someone’s shoe then acting like you’re doing a favor by tying it back. The original sin was untying the shoe in the first place.

  • Bowlinggreen123 March 15, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    Not Quite. Dealing marijuana is still illegal in NV. I to would like to see it legalized to take the whole stigma away from it Tax it and quit taxing gas so much. Drunks are worse I agree not only on the roads but in general. Although being stoned and driving is still dangerous.

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