ST. GEORGE (News4Utah) – A routine traffic stop in St. George turned up 40 pounds of marijuana.
After the driver made an illegal turn, the trooper pulled the man over at a Wendy’s right off the St. George Blvd. exit on Saturday. The stop turned into an arrest.
“My trooper was driving northbound in this area right here, and as the driver took exit 8, he kind of turned into a wide turn and didn’t use a signal,” said Sgt.Larry Mower with the Utah Highway Patrol.
The driver continued to the Wendy’s parking lot where the trooper noticed a smell.
“He noticed an odor or marijuana coming from the vehicle,” said Mower.
Police documents state the driver showed the trooper a vape smoking device as an explanation for the smell, but a search of his vehicle was done.
“They found two large duffel bags in the back hatch area of the vehicle that contained about 35 pounds of marijuana, and then he also found about 6 and a half pounds of marijuana wax products,” said Mower.
Mario Ocampo, 23, of California was arrested. He told authorities during an interview he was transporting the drugs.
“He said he actually worked for a marijuana dispensary in California and that he was on his way to a dispensary in Colorado. I explained to him that in his mind even if he doesn’t think he’s doing anything wrong, it’s still illegal under federal law, and still illegal under Utah state law. And we’re going to enforce those laws, and we’re going to make those stops and we’re going to seize those large quantities of contraband,” said Mower.
Ocampo faces felony drug possession with intent to distribute as well as possession of drug paraphernalia.
He was released on bail, but is scheduled to make his first court appearance in St. George on Monday.
The investigation is still ongoing and more charges could be filed.