November 23, 2012
A Utah Highway Patrol trooper discovered 56 pounds of marijuana in the trunk of a rented Chevrolet Malibu parked at a Coalville hotel, according to court reports.
After obtaining a search warrant on Nov. 1 based on probable cause, Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Lance Christensen searched the car trunk and found 56 pounds of marijuana vacuum-sealed in individual one-pound bags.
"There’s a question of whether or not officers can walk around a car sitting in a hotel parking lot," Brickey said. "There’s currently a case before the United States Supreme Court out of Florida on these very issues. So a lot of prosecutors are waiting to hear what the United States Supreme Court says."
People have an expectation of privacy when they park their car at a hotel, Brickey explained. Should law enforcement be able to enter that public parking lot and have their dog walk around the car?
"If you are in your driveway, you have an absolute right to privacy," Brickey said. "If you are in your own driveway and you didn’t give permission to an officer to walk around the car, I would think the discovery of evidence in the vehicle would be suppressed. But here, it’s a parking lot."
After speaking with the hotel staff, Christensen determined hotel patrons Nicholas Paul Workman, 23, from California, and Krizamae Abrera, 24, also from California, had driven the car to the hotel. When questioned, Abrera admitted to having rented the car. Both Abrera and Workman were arrested for narcotics trafficking.
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While being escorted out of the hotel, Workman apologized several times to Abrera for "getting her involved," according to the report
Workman and Abrera were both charged on Nov. 15 with third-degree felony possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.
A roll call court hearing is set for Dec. 17. in Summit County’s Third District Court. Roll call occurs prior to a preliminary hearing and allows the defense attorney an opportunity to get all of the information and evidence about the case.
"Technically, under Utah law, you can have a prelim and not have to give the evidence to the defense attorney," Brickey said. "Defense attorneys want to know the information, though, because what good is a prelim if they don’t know what they are asking them about. So it’s a procedural step that as prosecutors we have provided the defendants and their attorneys so they can get up to speed."
Car wash theft
Dalia Isabel Gonzalez-Rocha, 20, of Park City, was charged on Nov. 16 with second-degree felony theft after stealing thousands of dollars from the Kimball Junction car wash where she worked, according to court reports
On July 30, the car wash manager contacted the Sheriff’s Office to report a theft by one of his employees. The car wash sells pre-paid cards that customers can add funds to, and they never expire. Gonzalez-Rocha discovered how to transfer funds from one card to another and transferred $4,500 in funds from old, unused prepaid wash cards to five different cards in her possession, between Feb. 25 and July 8. She used the cards to pay for car washes for her friends, family and herself.
Gonzalez-Rocha also used the cards to pay for customers’ car washes, pocketing the cash they gave her. Between Feb. 25 and July 4, Gonzalez-Rocha took $2,300 from customers.
The filing documents go on to state that after firing her, the manager discovered Gonzalez-Rocha had stolen money from a nightly deposit on a night she was responsible for the cash drawer and the nightly deposit. Instead of making the nightly deposit in the on-site safe, the manager discovered she never made the $1,300 deposit that night.
Gonzales-Rocha has a hearing scheduled for Dec. 10.
New Hampshire man charged with possession
Bryce Conn, 21, of New Hampshire, was charged in the Third District Court on Nov. 13 with a third-degree felony possession of a controlled substance, a class B misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance, a class B misdemeanor driving a motor vehicle with any measurable controlled substance in the body and a class B misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
According to court reports, on Nov. 12 Sergeant Justin Hemingway stopped a car on S.R. 224 after watching the driver, Conn, smoking marijuana. Hemingway approached the car and smelled marijuana emanating from the car. Hemingway searched the car and found a marijuana cigarette in between the driver’s seat and the center console. A package of rolling papers was in the front dash console, along with a prescription bottle containing several orange pills, later identified as amphetamines.
When Hemingway walked to the passenger side, he noticed a mason jar containing marijuana in the snow a few feet away from the car. The passenger, Benjamin Cawley, 21, admitted he had thrown the jar into the snow when he stepped out of the car.
Cawley faces charges of class A misdemeanor obstruction of justice, class B misdemeanor possession or use of a controlled substance and class B misdemeanor possession or use of drug paraphernalia.
A court date is set for both Conn and Cawley with Judge Todd Shaughnessy on Nov. 26.