A request has been filed by Sevier County Attorney Don Brown seeking forfeiture to the county of more than $280,000 in alleged drug-related money.
A trial date is likely to be necessary to determine disposition of the cash and may be set on July 10 by 6th District Judge Don V. Tibbs.Tibbs wants to consider the actions of the federal court regarding alleged criminal drug activity of Francisco Arreola, 27, Ontario, Calif., before deciding whether a trial need be held on the forfeiture matter.
Arreola was arrested February 23 on I-70 with $280,870, four kilos of cocaine and a 9MM automatic weapon in his possession. He was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. Criminal prosecution reverted to the federal court system. The defendant was arrested by Deputy Phil Barney.
Brown explained that when the Utah Highway Patrol and a sheriff's department are involved in a specific drug arrest, money that is confiscated is divided between the state and the county. But in this case, only the sheriff's department was involved, so Sevier County would be entitled to all of it.
At the time of his arrest, Arreola claimed someone had taken his car and drove it to Chicago. He said he received a call from that city instructing him to fly there and pick up his car and that he was given $1,000 to drive it back home.
Barney reported he stopped the vehicle because it was weaving and that he was given permission to look in the car, where he found the cash and cocaine in two vents. Deputies spent four hours counting the money, which was in bill denominations of $1, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100.