2 California women arrested when trooper finds pound of meth in trunk on I-15

Stock image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Suspicious behavior and an open container of wine triggered a search of a vehicle on Interstate 15 in Iron County where authorities located more than a pound of methamphetamine, valued at $25,000, which lead to the arrest of two California women Friday.

L-R: Tabatha Huiras, 46, Lancaster, Calif. and Kimi Knope, 47, of Portola, Calif., booking photos taken in Iron County, Utah on July 19, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the Iron County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

A UHP trooper patrolling Interstate 15 in the early morning hours on Friday stopped a vehicle with California plates near mile marker 62 in Cedar City after observing a broken tail light.

As the trooper approached the car he noticed the passenger with an “open container of wine sitting in her lap,” according to the probable cause statements submitted to the Iron County Attorney’s Office in support of the arrests.

When asked for identification, the woman was attempting to “stuff something between the seat and the center console,” the trooper said, which is when he told her stop reaching and to step out of the vehicle where he asked her what she was trying to hide.

The passenger allegedly said she was trying to hide her methamphetamine pipe, at which point she was placed in handcuffs while the trooper conducted a search and located the pipe between the door and the passenger’s seat.

During a search of the center console where the passenger was seen reaching, the trooper found a cigar container with methamphetamine inside, along with more “personal use” methamphetamine throughout the vehicle.

During a subsequent search of the vehicle’s trunk, authorities located a pound of methamphetamine, along with baggies and scales, leading them to believe the drugs were not for personal use but were to be sold.

At that point both the driver, later identified as 46-year-old Tabatha Huiras, of Lancaster and the passenger, 47-year-old Kimi Knope, of Portola, California, were taken into custody and transported to Purgatory Correctional Facility where they each face one second-degree felony count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, along with possession of marijuana and paraphernalia, both misdemeanors.

A second-degree felony in Utah is punishable by one to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Huiras was also charged with misdemeanor driving on a revoked license and DUI, while Knope faces a misdemeanor charge of having an open container in the vehicle.

In Utah, the street value of the find equates to more than $23,000, according to the National Drug Intelligence Center.

Both women remain in the Iron County Jail on $25,000 bail.

This report is based on statements from police or other responders and may not contain the full scope of findings. 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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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.


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