CEDAR CITY, Utah (ABC4) — A Nevada woman was arrested on Thursday in possession of over five pounds of fentanyl during a traffic stop in Cedar City — the equivalent of around 24,000 potential lethal doses, according to Utah Highway Patrol.
Rachel Marie Aponas, 32, was arrested for possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance (second-degree felony), two counts of possession of a controlled substance (class-A misdemeanor), use or possession of drug paraphernalia (class-B misdemeanor), as well as multiple traffic-related charges, including failure to provide child restraint device for a child under 8 years old (infraction).
On Oct. 26, at around 2:30 p.m., a UHP trooper received a report of a suspicious vehicle heading northbound on I-15. Court documents state that just before 4 p.m., the trooper located the van on I-15.
The trooper said that as he was following the vehicle, Aponas “suddenly took exit 59 without signaling for a full two seconds.” He continued, “As it was traveling on the off-ramp, I observed that the right two tires of the vehicle crossed over the right fog line and out of the lane of travel.”
Court documents state that when the vehicle reached the bottom of the off-ramp, the trooper saw a small child in the back who started to move around the inside of the vehicle. “She clearly did not have a seat belt fastened,” the affidavit states.
The trooper conducted a traffic stop at around 1100 West 200 North. Both Aponas and a passenger in the front seat provided the trooper with Nevada IDs.
While talking with Aponas, the trooper said he believed there were illegal drugs inside the vehicle. Aponas reportedly then admitted that there was a methamphetamine pipe in the glove box.
She allegedly told the trooper the last time she smoked was the night prior.
The affidavit states that troopers performed a probable cause search of the vehicle and found a cooler in the back of the van, locked with a gun lock. Troopers then found the key to the lock on the van’s key ring, which they used to unlock the cooler.
“Once the cooler was unlocked, we located just over 5 pounds of fentanyl-laced, counterfeit M-30 pills,” the affidavit states. Troopers also found the methamphetamine pipe in the glove box with a “testable amount” of methamphetamine in it.
Upon being interviewed, both Aponas and the passenger admitted to having knowledge of the fentanyl. “They were being paid to transport them,” the affidavit states. Aponas also reportedly admitted that both she and the passenger had used methamphetamine.
“The occupants are from Las Vegas. They have no ties to the Iron County area. The amount of fentanyl is approximately 24000 potential lethal doses of fentanyl,” the affidavit states.
Aponas was booked into the Iron County Jail on the charges previously stated.