CEDAR CITY, Utah (ABC4) — A man who was caught with 175 pounds of methamphetamine during a routine traffic stop in Cedar City last year has been sentenced to federal prison for over seven years, according to court documents.
Jonathan Manuel Vargas, 22, pleaded guilty on Mar. 23 to possession of Methamphetamine with intent to distribute. The court dropped his other charges and sentenced him to 87 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.
Police pulled over Vargas in July 2022 for possibly having illegally tinted windows. During the stop, the police said he “became suspicious of further criminal activity” and deployed his K-9 to sniff the vehicle, according to the probable cause statement.
Police say the K-9 then alerted the officer to possible narcotics within the vehicle. When questioning Vargas about the dog’s recognition of narcotics, Vargas said he had a THC vape pen he had purchased in California. The officer searched the vehicle locating the vape pen, 175 pounds of methamphetamine, five kilograms of fentanyl, and three kilograms of cocaine.
Police say Vargas admitted to having completed five to ten drug trafficking trips through Utah in the past. Police also mentioned Vargas had a “connection with the cartel” in the probable cause affidavit.
Vargas will serve his time in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The court recommended to the bureau that he participates in treatment for substance abuse.