What began as a routine traffic stop last Friday for an equipment violation, turned into a major drug bust in downtown thanks to the efforts of an alert officer from Moab Police Department.
According to Moab Police Chief Jim Winder, subsequent to the traffic stop at 200 South Main Street, the officer made observations that led to the arrest of the driver and the discovery of 10 pounds of suspected marijuana, 100 grams of what appears to be the illicit substance known as MDMA (Ecstasy) and nearly $8,000 in cash.
The driver of the vehicle, Missouri resident Nathaniel Bryan Bowers, 39, was arrested for possession with intent to distribute narcotics and transported to the Grand County Jail. He is being held in lieu of $50,000 cash-only bail.
According to an MPD report, Bowers told officers he was en-route from Seattle to Hollister, Calif., and was “was taking a scenic route and wanting to travel on Highway 491.”
Officers reportedly asked Bowers if there were any illegal drugs in the vehicle — at which point his “demeanor [changed], he leaned further back in his seat and began avoiding eye contact.”
While in contact with Bowers, officers reported smelling raw marijuana and asked him to exit the vehicle while calling for a second unit to assist. During a pat-down search of Bowers officers discovered a large sum of cash — a banded portion of $100 bills together totaling $5,000. Another sum of cash in Bowers' wallet consisted of a mixture of bills, the majority being $20 bills totaling $1,335.
And then officers discovered the drugs.
“During the search in the front console of the vehicle was located a smaller amount of raw marijuana,” the report states. “As the search progressed we began discovering rolls of vacuum seal bags. Located in a suitcase was various types of THC edibles. Located on the floor was a paper bag containing [hashish] and THC dabs. At that point [officers] began to assist with the search and located a large black garbage bag. Found inside were 10 large vacuum-sealed bags containing large quantities of raw marijuana. Throughout the vehicle we also located small Tupperware-style containers. Additionally, located in the vehicle was a brown glass bottle containing two blue tablets which field-tested positive for MDMA. Another large sum of cash was located in a folder inside of a book.”
The cash, which consisted of various bill types, totaled $1,790.
“Located in the rear cargo area of the van was a clear plastic bag containing what appeared to be sugar cubes,” the report states. “ ... The cubes appeared to be laced with a blue substance that was field-tested and showed positive for MDMA
Upon arriving at the jail the total quantities of illegal substance were weighed. The raw marijuana totaled 4939 grams, or almost 11 pounds, with each bag weighing nearly 500 grams. The total weight of THC edibles totaled 605 grams. The total weight of the MDMA-laced sugar cubes was 135 grams or 61 cubes. The total amount of currency located on Bowers' person and in the vehicle was $8,125.
A criminal history check on Bowers revealed an extensive background involving the distribution of illegal substances, cultivation of marijuana and various possession charges, according to the MPD report.