2 arrested on 40 pound drug bust

IRON COUNTY — A standard traffic stop on Interstate 15 near mile marker 86 led Utah Highway Patrol to arrest two men Friday morning on felony drug charges.

At 10:15 a.m., a silver Ford Focus, traveling northbound on I-15, was pulled over by UHP Trooper Scott Mackelprang for a left lane traveling issue. As Mackelprang approached the vehicle he could smell a strong odor of marijuana, UHP Sgt. Mary Kay Lucas said.

There were four people inside the vehicle: the driver, Gabriel Adrian Solis, 19, of Sanger, California; Jose Javier Gomez, 21, of Selma, California; along with two juveniles, who said they were traveling from Fresno, California.

Gabriel Adrian Solis, 19, of Sanger, California, booked into Iron County Jail, July 11, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Iron County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News
Gabriel Adrian Solis, 19, of Sanger, California, booked into Iron County Jail, July 11, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Iron County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

After obtaining permission to search the car, Mackelprang discovered 40 pounds of marijuana inside several pieces of luggage, which is one of the most common places people hide large quantities of illegal drugs these days, Lucas said.

“It used to be found in smaller compartments,” she said. “But nowadays it’s almost always found in luggage.”

As for the normality of the quantity, 40 pounds of marijuana is about the average seize along I-15, which still does not discredit how much space this amount can occupy considering that one contained pound of marijuana stands about equivalent to the size of a shoebox.

Jose Javier Gomez, 21, of Selma, California, booked into Iron County Jail, July 11, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Iron County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News
Jose Javier Gomez, 21, of Selma, California, booked into Iron County Jail, July 11, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Iron County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

“Marijuana is all leafy. One pound takes up a lot of room,” Lucas said. “But still we don’t get too excited unless we find over 100 pounds.”

Regardless, seizes of large quantities allow for the opportunity to obtain information that could lead to other arrests or to trace the drugs back to where they came from.

Solis and Gomez were both arrested and booked into the Iron County Jail.

Gomez was charged with a third-degree felony for possession of marijuana, a second-degree felony for possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute and a class-B misdemeanor for possession of paraphernalia.

In addition to the above charges, Solis was charged with a class-C misdemeanor for lane travel. Bail has not yet been set by the judge for either Gomez or Solis. No information pertaining to the juveniles was reported.

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Ed. note: UHP Trooper Scott Mackelprang was incorrectly named as Mackelburg in this report. His name has been corrected with our apologies.

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  • Duh July 12, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    If you are going to be driving with drugs in the car,follow the rules of the road…

    • Meh July 17, 2014 at 2:07 pm

      The trooper is pulling a scam. They sit on the right shoulder so you get over in the left and then they pull you over for being in the left hand lane while they are racing up in the right hand lane to keep you in the left hand lane. If you’re bearing a California license plate the trooper automatically smells marijuana and that is fraud and suppression of evidence since it’s ill gotten and that is the law. No if and or buts. This is a scam clear and simple. It’s absolutely disgusting they’re able to get away with violating rights like this. It’s a plant. The US government has a patent on it for medical purposes and nicotine, alcohol, sugar and caffeine are more addicting. If you drink enough water and drown should we outlaw water? No because that would be insane. If you have more logic than a kindergartener then you understand that marijuana being illegal is insane and should be legal again.
      How about them apples?

    • Sure August 13, 2014 at 8:51 pm

      They got over for you for courtesy so you pull them over and give them a ticket? Did you have your lights on or off?? No respect for that. Don’t be surprised if people stop getting over for you. If you don’t have your lights on they don’t have to get over. It’s the law. You’ll be on camera looking like some remedial 5 year olds soon when you actually get caught in your lies and someone has enough money to put you in your place. A prison cell and not jail. Anybody traveling on the 15 put video cameras on the front and back of your car with video. These troopers are only out to rob you. You have a trooper in one of his arrest reports saying he was in the median under oath he was clocking a car in the opposite direction and then in the narrative saying he’s on the shoulder. What a bunch of lying fraudulent thieves you are. You all get away with way to much and have gotten away with murder literally. That’s about to change. Have fun when your troopers start being brought to justice. I’m doing my job as an American citizen.

  • NEVER LEARN July 12, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Hey didnt I see these guys on the bus from Murietta, California?

  • Jay July 12, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    Dang a felony for possessing a harmless drug. Good thing DUI of alchohol (huge potential for getting somebody killed ) here is only a Misd and less than 2,000 fine. Oh well it’s illegal and should not be used here. But still sad two harmless young adults life’s are now ruined…

    • makkie July 12, 2014 at 10:43 pm

      You are kidding right?
      If they were caucasian would they still be two young harmless adults?

      • Jay July 13, 2014 at 5:26 pm

        Why would they not? I’m Caucasian by the way, did my statement have anything at all to do with race? I was saying that the pot itself has zero potential to cause harm to anyone. Sorry to cause you confusion, I don’t have the best grammar myself. But I didn’t think at any point I made a reference to race. Did I Makkie??

  • celerystalk July 12, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    Whew, we finally got those dangerous people off the road who had left-lane “issues.” I’m sure a simple citation for a driving infraction could have been issued, yet these men were arrested. Were these men impaired? If so I see no mention of it in this story. The only thing we have here is the police state doing a little fundraising.

    When we can admit that, we’ll be headed in the right direction.

    • Andy July 12, 2014 at 11:31 pm

      You said, ” I’m sure a simple citation for a driving infraction could have been issued, yet these men were arrested.” Did you miss the part where they were arrested for the 40 pounds of pot?

      • EL JEFE July 14, 2014 at 1:10 pm

        Hey ANDY….the 40 pounds of pot was for personal use. That just merits a simple citation, doesn’t it?? I’ve been known to be in the wrong. 40 pounds, come on man, that’s just for me and my homies……sheesh.

  • Mission Statement July 13, 2014 at 7:04 am

    If only they had served a good mission somewhere then they’d get off with a slight pat on the back of the hand and wink and a nod.

  • Drunk Cops July 13, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Just wondering if the cops were drunk. There seems to be quite a few cops busted in Southern Utah for DUIs. And speaking of dangerous and menace drivers, who can forget that UHP speeding on River Road at 100mph and t-boning the car and killing two women?

    • Jay July 13, 2014 at 5:34 pm

      I have seen on multiple occasions the UHP traveling at excessive speeds (90+MPH) WITHOUT their lights on. One time almost caused an accident. Probably a code red to arrest those deadly potheads before they start to feel alright. But hey if UHP kill someone it isn’t their fault, cops here feel like they’re above the law. After all, what are we supposed to do? Call the cops?

  • insearchofaneditor July 13, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Is the officer mentioned as “Mackelburg” supposed to be “Mackelprang”? Pretty sure it is but I could be wrong. This would be the second time in as many weeks an article was published with the wrong name (accident victim name was wrong on an article July 1st). No big deal just wanting to clarify.

    • Joyce Kuzmanic July 13, 2014 at 10:03 pm

      It is a big deal, “in search of,” you are correct and I’ve made the corrections with apologies to Trooper Mackelprang. Your observation is appreciated, thank you.
      ST. GEORGE NEWS | STGnews.com
      Joyce Kuzmanic
      Editor in Chief

  • Knan July 16, 2014 at 11:34 am

    i I agree with El Jefe slap on a ticket for the personals! Jails are too overpopulated for harmless offenses!

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