The newly formed state narcotics prosecution task force made its presence felt this week with the arrest of two San Francisco men on charges of possessing 234 pounds of marijuana with intent to distribute.
Kim Alexander P. Robinson and Francis Xavier Towers, both 35, appeared Friday in 5th Circuit Court for a bond hearing. The hearing was continued until 9:30 a.m. Monday, and both men are being held in lieu of $50,000 in bail.Assistant Utah Attorney General Wendy Hufnagel, director of the Statewide Prosecution and Illegal Narcotics Enforcement a program recently created with a federal grant said the men were stopped in Parleys Canyon on Tuesday after the driver of the car swerved in front of a Utah Highway Patrol car.
She said that after the men were detained, the patrolman smelled what seemed to be marijuana and called into a drug-sniffing dog, which confirmed that drugs were present.
At that point, the two men were arrested and their car impounded. With Hufnagel's assistance, a search warrant was obtained, and officers found several duffle bags of marijuana in a hidden compartment.
Hugnagel said the 234 pounds of the drug was "substantial," worth up to $250,000 if sold on the street. She is also considering charging the two men for possession of marijuana without the tax stamps required under a new law passed by the Legislature.
The law calls for a tax of $3.50 on each gram of marijuana. If confiscated marijuana doesn't have the stamp, the possessor is subject to an additional penalty of 100 percent of the tax. Applying those criteria to Tuesday's drug bust, the defendants, if convicted, could be ordered to pay taxes and fines totaling $741,686, Hufnagel said.