Around 6:30 p.m., a police officer conducting a criminal interdiction on Interstate 15 near the Utah-Arizona border noticed that the driver and passenger of a gold Chevrolet Malibu were acting suspiciously. The charging documents stated that the driver in the vehicle quickly turned his head around and sunk down in his seat upon seeing the police while the passenger put a towel over his head to conceal his face.
The officer followed the vehicle going northbound on the interstate and ultimately decided to conduct a traffic stop after witnessing the driver committing a lane violation and getting “dangerously close” to the vehicle in front of him.
Police say in the documents that the passenger, Daniel Beltran Polanco, 40, did not take the towel away from his face when the officer approached the vehicle and pretended to sleep. After being questioned by the officer, the driver, who identified himself as 38-year-old Luis Valenzuela Flores, said that the Malibu was a rental and was due back in Nampa, Idaho, the next day.
Valenzuela told the officer that he and Polanco went to Las Vegas the night before to visit family, but gas receipts found later in his wallet showed that the pair was in California a few hours ago.
The officer, growing increasingly suspicious, called a second officer over to write up electronic warnings while he deployed a K-9 to conduct a free-air sniff. The K-9’s behavior indicated that it detected narcotics inside the Malibu.
Authorities searched the vehicle and discovered a bag filled with pounds of narcotics, including 771.20 grams of fentanyl pills, 52.70 grams of heroin, 117.80 grams of cocaine and 5.12 pounds of methamphetamine.
Polanco and Valenzuela are each facing four second-degree charges of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. Police determined they pose a substantial danger to the public and are likely to flee the jurisdiction of the court. Both suspects are held in Washington County Jail on a $20,000 bail each.