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.
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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