Man already on probation in northern Utah arrested for similar charges in Hurricane

Hurricane Police Department vehicle, Hurricane, Utah, Aug. 29, 2018 | File photo by Spencer Ricks, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A traffic stop in Hurricane led to the arrest of a man already on felony probation after officers found a folder containing several copies of checks in other individuals’ names, as well as a dangerous weapon and drugs.

In this 2020 file photo for illustrative purposes only police vehicles staging at scene of a single-vehicle crash on Interstate 15 near Exit 40, Washington County, Utah, Nov. 2, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News/ Cedar City News

On May 21, officers stopped a vehicle on 3700 West in Hurricane for a seat belt violation, and after speaking to the driver, 45-year-old Mikel Ashby of West Valley, officers ran a records check and learned that he was on active probation.

According to charging documents filed with the court, a K-9 team was dispatched, and when the dog was deployed to conduct an exterior sniff the animal indicated to the possible presence of narcotics in the driver’s possession.

During a subsequent search, officers found a black container with two baggies containing a white substance of suspected methamphetamine. A green bag containing syringes was located inside of the car. Officers also recovered a knife with a 12-inch blade – which the suspect was prohibited from having, being that he was still on active probation.

As the search continued authorities found two folders inside of a backpack with several copies of bank checks imprinted with various names, none of which belonged to the driver or his passenger.

According to the charging documents, the suspect told police he used the knife for camping and admitted he had the folders that contained paperwork, but he denied knowing why there would be any copies of the checks found inside of the folders.

Map of North 3700 West with arrows depicting northbound travel | Image courtesy of Google Maps, St. George News

Ashby was arrested and booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility facing felony possession of a controlled substance and possession of a dangers weapon, as well as misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia.

Ashby also faces a forgery charge due to the copies of checks, as well as paper stock found in the folders that authorities suspect was used to make the checks. Once he was booked into jail, he was placed on a 72-hour hold by Adult Probation and Parole since the arrest was a possible violation of his probation.

The hold stems from a 2019 case in which the suspect pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of attempted possession of a forgery device – downgraded from a felony charge as part of a plea agreement – and was placed on 24-months’ probation in lieu of a jail sentence.

In that case, the manager of a West Valley check cashing business became suspicious when Ashby entered the business to cash a $200 check and the signature on the check did not match the signature the manager had seen on legitimate payroll checks written by the company.

Officers learned the checks had been stolen from the business the night before and that Ashby did not work for the company. He was arrested and charged with the offense and later placed on probation.

In addition to that case, Ashby was scheduled to appear in 3rd District Court in Salt Lake City on Tuesday on an unrelated case filed in February 2020 in which the suspect was charged with second-degree felony theft by receiving stolen property and misdemeanor charges of failing to stop at command of law enforcement and interfering with arresting officer, possession of burglary tools and paraphernalia.

The incident started when a man called 911 reporting that his truck was stolen. Later that same day, the owner found the pickup at a mobile home park, and when he looked inside of the vehicle he noticed it was full of property that did not belong to him.

In this 2019 file photo for illustrative purposes only, police stage at a scene in Hurricane, Utah, April 14, 2019 | Photo by Ron Chaffin, St. George News

Officers responded to the area and found Ashby, who was reportedly acting “fidgety” and refused to comply with the officer’s orders and instead fled from the area on foot.

He was captured shortly thereafter and taken into custody by police.

During a search of his person officers found the vehicle owner’s keys, a bag of suspected methamphetamine and a “window punch”  or hand tool used to break through a window in the event of an emergency.

The report filed with his most recent arrest also states that Ashby is a “documented gang member” with an extensive criminal history. He is currently being held without bail.

Ed. Note: A new Utah law generally prohibits the release of arrest booking photos until after a conviction is obtained. 

This report is based on statements from court records, 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.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!