A Minnesota man faces federal drug and assault of an officer charges after trying to elude a Utah Highway Patrol trooper who pulled over his vehicle on I-15 near Nephi on Friday.
A complaint filed in U.S. District Court says a trooper stopped the man around 4:10 p.m. because he was following another car too closely. He accompanied the trooper to his patrol vehicle, where he gave vague and contradictory information about his background and travel plans. The trooper then had Rambo, a drug certified K-9, check the exterior of the man's van. The dog gave a positive reaction for narcotics.
The trooper returned to the vehicle and asked the man if he was transporting marijuana, at which point he opened the passenger door and fled. The trooper chased the man and, when he failed to stop as ordered, shot him with a Taser. As the two men struggled, two federal agents who happened to be passing through the area stopped to aid the trooper. But the man managed to get back into his vehicle and began to drive off, dragging the trooper and one agent a short distance before they were able to free themselves.
The officers returned to their vehicles and pursued the van northbound on I-15. As other officers joined the pursuit, the man stopped his vehicle and surrendered. Officers were then able to search the van and found 70 pounds of high quality marijuana concealed in two large plastic totes and two large nylon bags stored in the back of the vehicle.