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Stolen Forest Service trailer leads to Cache County drug bust

Former firefighter » He and co-defendant allegedly broke into Forest Service complex.

By bob mims

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Sep 07 2012 12:30 pm • Last Updated Sep 11 2012 09:22 am

It started as a search for stolen U.S. Forest Service equipment and ended with two Cache County men behind bars for theft — and alleged possession of a large cache of illegal drugs.

Logan Assistant Police Chief Jess Curtis said the investigation began after the Aug. 20 theft of a trailer from the federal agency’s complex at 200 S. 700 West in Logan. Inside the trailer was a snowmobile and assorted rescue gear.

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Security cameras caught images of the suspects, along with a Yukon SUV involved in the theft. Police were then able to identify the suspected owner of the vehicle as a 31-year-old former firefighter now living in Eugene, Ore.

Curtis said the firefighter, who recently lived in Hyde Park, Utah, was arrested Thursday night in Eugene , where he was being held Friday for extradition back to Utah on suspicion of second-degree felony theft.

"[He] had worked for the Forest Service as a firefighter and had knowledge of what the code was to get into the gate at the compound," Curtis said.

Meanwhile, investigators also discovered the trailer parked at the Nibley area residence of a 30-year-old man. Logan police, Cache County sheriff’s deputies, the Cache-Rich County Drug Task Force and Forest Service officers obtained a search warrant and raided the second suspect’s home Thursday afternoon.

While looking for the stolen equipment, law officers also "located a very large amount of several types of illegal drugs. There was approximately eight to 10 pounds of marijuana, six ounces of crystal meth, cocaine and illegal mushrooms," Curtis said.

The search also turned up a handgun in the residence of the man, a convicted felon who could not legally possess a firearm, Curtis said.

The trailer was recovered, with officers finding that its vehicle identification number and Forest Service markings had been altered.

The second, Nibley-area suspect was being held without bail, booked into Cache County jail on suspicion of numerous crimes including first-degree felony counts distribution of cocaine, methamphetamine and hallucinogenic mushrooms; second-degree felony counts of distribution of marijuana, altering a vehicle identification number and possession of stolen property; one third-degree felony count of possession of a firearm by a restricted person; and one class A misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

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