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Routine traffic stop uncovers cache of drugs

Dharma Smith

Sun Advocate reporter

A routine traffic stop inside the Price city limits led to a significant drug arrest late last week as Price Police Officer Stephen Regruto, in conjunction with the Carbon Metro Drug Task Force, seized a variety of suspected illegal narcotics.

According to Price City Police Sgt. Bill Barnes, the arrest led to the confiscation of approximately eight grams of suspected methamphetamine, nearly three grams of suspected cocaine, psychotropic mushrooms and two fentanyl transdermal patches along with other illegal drugs and reported paraphernalia.

"This is some of the best police work I have seen in quite some time," commented Barnes while explaining Officer Regruto's bust. "A routine traffic stop turned into a sizable drug arrest because of good police work."

A press release issued by Price City Police Capt. Kevin Drolc on Thursday confirmed that Dharma Gray Smith, 32, was booked into the Carbon County Jail on May 25 after he was found to be in possession of what police allege was variety of controlled substances during a traffic stop in Price.

According to Drolc, the incident began when Regruto stopped Smith for a purported traffic violation in the area of Cedar Hills Drive and Sagewood Road. Subsequent to Smith's initial arrest Regruto discovered a variety of controlled substances in Smith's car. The manner in which the drugs were discovered caused the officer to bring in the area's drug task officials.

"The quantity and manner in which the drugs were packaged led officers to believe the narcotics were prepared for unlawful distribution," stated Drolc in the release.

Smith was subsequently booked into the Carbon County Jail for crimes including: distribution of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, possession of paraphernalia and driving on a suspended license.

"The drug problem in Carbon County is something we are constantly working against," explained Sgt. Barnes following the arrest. "Currently we have seen a swing toward heroin and prescription pills abuse in the area but meth is still around, there's no doubt about that."

According to Barnes, the influx of heroin currently being seen in the Castle Valley has just as much to do with economics as anything else.

"The individuals we talk to report that heroin is cheaper than prescription meds and therefore is making a comeback," he said. "In addition to being cheaper it is also very dangerous and as a police force we are doing everything possible to fight its abuse."

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