California man nabbed for trunkload of pot after car breaks down on I-80
UPD, UHP team up • Officer stopped to help car on I-80, and so did trooper — and his drug-sniffing dog.
Published: March 11, 2014 07:25PM
Updated: March 11, 2014 10:27PM
Courtesy Unified Police Department A Unified Police officer's decision to help a stranded motorist led to seizure of a trunkload of marijuana.

It started as a friendly stop by a Unified Police officer to help a motorist in trouble. Then, everything went to pot. Literally.

A UPD officer was driving along Interstate 80 near 7200 West about 2:30 p.m. Monday when a rented Nissan Maxima in front of him pulled over the side of the road, its hazard lights on.

“Our officer pulled over to see if he needed help, and in the process of talking with the driver became suspicious,” said UPD Lt. Justin Hoyal.

Coincidentally, that was when a Utah Highway Patrol trooper and his dog also pulled over to see if their UPD colleague needed assistance.

The trooper’s timing couldn’t have been better, for when he approached, the dog alerted to the presence of marijuana — and a subsequent search found 22 pounds of packaged weed in the car’s trunk.

The 49-year-old male driver, of Fresno, Calif., was arrested. He remained in the Salt Lake County jail on Tuesday in lieu of $7,500 bail, booked on suspicion of third-degree felony possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

“This was just a great example of teamwork by area law enforcement agencies,” Hoyal said.

Twitter: @remims