ST. GEORGE — A Southern California man was sentenced on a drug distribution charge following a traffic stop on Interstate 15 in Washington City in February. Instead of going to prison the defendant was released later that same day after serving four months in county jail.
22-year-old Dreshaun Ellisemery Moore, of Beaumont, California, appeared in 5th District Court via video for sentencing on third-degree felony distribution of a controlled substance. Under the terms of the plea agreement, three misdemeanor charges were dismissed, including possession of marijuana, interfering with an arrest and an open container of alcohol charge.
The state also agreed to reduce the distribution charge from a second-degree felony to a third-degree felony charge, which the defendant pleaded guilty to on June 1. During the proceedings a presentence report was ordered which provides information and sentencing recommendations.
The hearing stems from an arrest that took place after a Washington County Sheriff’s deputy stopped a vehicle on northbound Interstate 15 near mile marker 5 just north of Brigham Road for a traffic violation, and during the stop Moore began making “furtive movements” toward his front pocket as well as the front waistband of his pants.
During a search of the suspect, the deputy felt a large, hard bulge in the suspect’s front pocket that he initially thought was a handgun but which turned out to be a “large bag of pills” and a bag of marijuana. The suspect also told deputies he had a “large amount of money on him,” which turned out to be roughly $2,370, including 90 $20 bills. Moore was subsequently arrested and transported to jail and the narcotics and the cash was seized as proceeds of criminal activity by police.
Further investigation revealed the bag contained more than 400 light blue pills that tested positive for fentanyl.
During Tuesday’s hearing, both sides agreed to follow the recommendations as set forth in the presentence report, which included credit for time served and probation.
District Judge Jeffery C. Wilcox suspended the sentence of 0-5 years in Utah State Prison and also the $5,000 fine. Instead, the defendant was ordered to serve 290 days in jail, 145 of which was also suspended, and since Moore had served 145 days since his arrest, the judge ordered that Moore be released that same day.
The defendant was also ordered to pay a $950 fine and was placed on 36-months’ probation, which would also include a substance abuse evaluation and completion of any recommended treatment.
Wilcox also made it clear that Moore needed to follow the terms of his probation, and then outlined what would happen if he failed to comply with any of the terms of the agreement.
“So if you do not comply with each and every term of your probation, you’ll be back in jail for an additional 145 days and you also could be sent to Utah State Prison,” Wilcox said.
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.
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