Deputies seize more than $1 million worth of drugs
Summit County Sheriff’s deputies seized more than $1 million worth of methamphetamine on Thursday during a traffic stop on Interstate 80 in Coalville. Marilyn Torres, of Long Beach, Calif, was arrested on preliminary charges of transporting and possessing illegal narcotics, which are both felonies, according to Summit County Sheriff Justin Martinez.
The suspect was traveling in a 2007 white Chevrolet Impala eastbound on I-80 when deputies stopped Torres for improper lane travel at approximately 10:30 a.m., Martinez said. Upon further questioning, deputies determined Torres was acting suspiciously and conducted a K9 unit search of the vehicle, yielding 31.5 pounds of methamphetamine from beneath a spare tire in the trunk.
"Her story and her travel itinerary were not consistent and her actions were extremely nervous," Martinez said.
After speaking with the suspect, deputies discovered the drugs originated at a super lab in Mexico and were being taken to the Midwest. The seizure in and of itself wasn’t exactly unique because I-80 is considered a major drug trafficking thoroug fare, Martinez added.
"1-80 is one of the major arteries throughout the country. A good amount of narcotics travel one way and money the other way. What made this unique was the amount," he said.
It was one of the largest methamphetamine busts in the county and Martinez commended the deputies on their actions.
"These deputies did their job and did it extremely well," he said. "The fact that we were able to remove that amount of narcotics from the street and that money from a drug dealer’s pocket makes me very proud. We are helping the community and saving lives.
"Those are the ripple effects that I look at as sheriff," Martinez said, adding the incident validates the Sheriff’s Department’s traffic enforcement efforts and "why we are out doing what we do."
"We know that I-80 is a major artery and its incumbent upon me to police Summit County," he said. "Whatever passes through this county, I believe, I have the responsibility to try and prevent it from reaching its final destination."
The Summit County Sheriff’s Department is working with other local federal agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, during the course of its investigation into this case.
UPDATED, Feb. 24 at 3 p.m.:
According to Summit County Prosecutor Matt Bates, Torres was taken directly into custody by U.S. Marshals because of the quantity involved.
Bates said the U.S. Attorney’s office is now handling the case.
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Park City Fire District Chief Paul Hewitt died Friday from injuries sustained in an off-duty accident earlier in the week, the agency announced.