CEDAR CITY — A 20-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of multiple charges after police found 1 1/2 pounds of heroin in his vehicle during a traffic stop Saturday.
Luis Mario Aguirre was subsequently booked into Iron County Jail for charges of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana, paraphernalia, operating a vehicle without insurance and failure to register the vehicle or obtain a driver license. The possession with intent to distribute charge is a second-degree felony, while the other counts are either misdemeanors or infractions.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed in support of Aguirre’s arrest, the vehicle he was driving was stopped by a Utah Highway Patrol trooper on northbound Interstate 15 north of Cedar City.
The incident reportedly happened Saturday at approximately 8:30 p.m. and involved a Nissan Altima sedan with California plates, according to UHP.
As the vehicle had driven past, the trooper reportedly noticed that the driver’s side window was rolled most of the way down, but the part that was still up appeared to be darker than allowed by Utah law.
“I believed he had rolled the window down in an attempt to conceal the illegal window tint,” the trooper wrote in the affidavit.
As he proceeded to follow the vehicle in preparation for enacting a traffic stop, the trooper stated that he also ran a records check of the vehicle and found that its registration had expired in February.
After pulling over the vehicle near mile marker 66, the trooper determined that the driver did not have a valid driver license, nor did he have proof of insurance on the vehicle.
During the conversation that followed, the trooper said he started to be suspicious that the driver was involved in criminal activity, and decided to call for a K-9 officer and handler to respond to the scene.
“He had his K-9 perform a free air sniff of the vehicle and he informed me that his K-9 had indicated to the odor of narcotics in the vehicle,” the trooper wrote.
“During a probable cause search of the vehicle, we located approximately 1.5 pounds of heroin, two THC vape pens and a grinder,” the trooper added.
If sold in the Cedar City area, that amount of heroin is valued at approximately $140,000, for nearly 7,000 individual uses, the affidavit states.
After being read his Miranda rights, the driver reportedly admitted he was transporting the heroin to Denver for another individual to sell.
The affidavit also states that Aguirre’s family lives in Mexico and he has no ties to Utah.
Aguirre, who is currently being held without bail, is scheduled to make his initial court appearance Tuesday afternoon before 5th District Judge Ann Marie McIff Allen.
This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement and court documents 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.
Ed. Note: A new Utah law generally prohibits the release of arrest booking photos until after a conviction is obtained.
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