DEA official joins I-15 fray with suspected drug smuggler

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 28 2012 5:53 p.m. MST

DEA assistant agent in charge Frank Smith talks about the the large meth bust which took place Sunday night.

Matt Powers, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — One of the Drug Enforcement Agency's top administrators in Utah was among several law enforcers who grappled with a man suspected of smuggling marijuana on I-15 earlier this month.

DEA assistant special agent in charge Frank Smith and group supervisor Sue Thomas saw Utah Highway Patrol trooper Dustin Livingston struggling with a man on the freeway just south of Nephi on Nov. 16.

Livingston had stopped the man's van and attempted to arrest him after the trooper's dog, Rambo, indicated there were drugs in the vehicle, according to a federal complaint filed in U.S. District Court. The man fled on foot, and Livingston deployed his Taser on him.

Smith and Thomas parked in front of the trooper's car, identified themselves as federal agents and joined in the fight.

The man was able to get into his van and drive way, dragging Smith and Livingston a short distance. The officers returned to their vehicles and chased the man north on I-15. A few minutes later as other officers joined the pursuit, the man stopped and gave up, according to the complaint.

Authorities say they found 70 pounds of marijuana in two large plastic totes and two large nylon bags hidden in the back of the van.

Dean Davone Linthalath, 36, was indicted Wednesday on one count of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and one count of assault on a federal officer. He is being held in the Davis County Jail.

E-mail: romboy@desnews.com Twitter: dennisromboy

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