A Utah Highway Patrol trooper making a traffic stop last Thursday found more than 45 pounds of cocaine worth $1.5 million in a car's trunk.
The bust marks the largest drug confiscation ever taken on a Salt Lake County highway."We've never had one that big; most are usually made along Interstate 70 in the southeastern part of the state," UHP Sgt. Gary Whitney said.
The drugs were confiscated after Trooper Gary Toone stopped a car traveling 35 mph in the fast lane on Interstate 80 near the mouth of Parleys Canyon. Toone also noticed the car had expired Minnesota license plates.
The trooper suspected the car was stolen when the driver couldn't find registration information. That suspicion led to a search in the car's trunk, where Toone found 22 cocaine bricks wrapped in cellophane and brown tape. The bricks were stacked between the car's back seat and trunk. No weapons were found..
"It's usual procedure to ask to search a car for weapons if you think it might be stolen," Whitney said.
A New Jersey woman was arrested and booked into Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of narcotics possession.
The car apparently came from Las Vegas and was traveling west when the stop was made at 4 p.m., Whitney said.
"I don't think (the cocaine) would have been distributed in the Salt Lake valley - it was just passing through," he said.