CEDAR CITY — Two suspected drug traffickers were arrested early Friday following a traffic stop on Interstate 15 north of Cedar City where police found 48 pounds of marijuana inside their vehicle.

Tory Marquis Brassell, 23, and JVaughn Laroc Alexander, 25, were booked into Iron County Jail following the incident, which began shortly before midnight on Thursday. A Utah Highway Patrol trooper reportedly observed their vehicle, a black Volkswagen Taos compact SUV, approach a slower-moving semi truck from behind. The driver then changed lanes without signaling for the full two seconds, as required by state law. 

The trooper activated his emergency lights, after which the driver pulled over and stopped near mile marker 72 on northbound I-15.

“When I approached the vehicle, I smelled the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle,” the trooper wrote in the probable cause statements filed in support of the arrests. During initial questioning, the driver reportedly denied that there was any marijuana inside the vehicle.

However, during the subsequent search of the SUV, troopers found four large trash bags containing a total of 48 one-pound packages of marijuana. Both men were then placed under arrest and taken to jail.

The driver, identified in the charging documents as Brassell, also allegedly had a small bag of the drug ecstasy in his pocket.

File photo of Iron County Jail, Cedar City, Utah, Aug. 17, 2023 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

“I asked the driver why he was running around with ecstasy and he told me that he was swallowing it to stay awake on the drive back,” the trooper wrote.

Although the affidavit did not indicate where the men were headed, it noted that the vehicle was a rental with California plates and that Brassell had an Iowa driver license.

Both Brassell and Alexander are each facing one count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, a third-degree felony, and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor. In addition, Brassell faces one count of possession or use of a controlled substance, a class A misdemeanor, one count of driving with a measurable amount of a controlled substance, a class B misdemeanor, and one count of failure to adequately signal while changing lanes, an infraction.

Both men made their initial appearances on Monday before 5th District Judge Matthew L. Bell in Cedar City. They each have a roll call hearing scheduled for Dec. 11.

This report is based on information provided by court documents and law enforcement and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

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