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September 25, 2022

Southern Utah police seize nearly $882K in heroin from Colorado pair

Police in Washington County say they seized more than $880,000 worth of heroin during a recent traffic stop. (Geoff Liesik, KSL TV)

WASHINGTON, Washington County — Police in Washington County seized over $880,000 worth of heroin after pulling over a vehicle from Colorado earlier this week, according to arrest reports.

Angelica Alonso Rodriguez, 23, of Thornton, Colorado, and Cesar Aguayo Montes, 25, of Denver, were booked into the Washington County Jail Sunday for investigation of drug possession with an intent to distribute and use or possession of drug paraphernalia.

On Sunday evening, a Washington police officer saw a car driven by Montes exit northbound I-15 and quickly enter a Maverik gas station. Rodriguez, who was a passenger in the car, got out with a black Adidas backpack.

After Rodriguez got out of the car, Montes drove out of the convenience store parking lot and allegedly accelerated quickly through a stop sign. The officer believed Montes was intentionally drawing attention to himself in order to get the officer to stop him, according to a police booking affidavit. The officer also found it suspicious that Montes would leave Rodriguez at the gas station when both are from out of state.

The officer then pulled over Montes’ car at 975 N. Washington Parkway, and Montes started to get out of the car and look toward the gas station, the affidavit states, adding that Montes was “breathing heavy and sweating” and “displaying signs of extreme nervousness.”

Investigators say Montes told the officer that he and Rodriguez were arguing, and he left her at the gas station so she could catch a ride back to Colorado.

A police dog recognized the odor of narcotics in the inside of the car, according to the affidavit.

Another officer went to find Rodriguez at the gas station. When officers contacted her, she told them she was instructed to go into the gas station and get rid of the Adidas backpack, the affidavit says.

“Angelica informed me she was instructed to take the backpack and abandon it somewhere,” the officer wrote in the affidavit. “Angelica also stated she was already contacted by the drug cartel and if she did not cooperate they were going to kill her and her family.”

Rodriguez admitted there were narcotics in the backpack, and told them the narcotics were “black,” which is a known slang term for heroin, the affidavit says.

Police searched the backpack and found 12 large bundles wrapped in electrical tape. They opened the bundles and found vacuum-sealed bags containing a black, tar-like substance that was later field tested and yielded a presumptive positive result for heroin, according to the affidavit.

The bundles weighed just over 16 pounds total, and the narcotics were estimated to have a street value of $881,112, according to police.

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