Utah Drug Dealer Arrested After Calling Police on Someone Else

A Utah drug dealer was arrested last week after calling the police on someone else who assaulted and robbed him.

Raising attention

Photo by: Eelke

Salt Lake Police Department received a credible tip point them toward a local drug dealer after the dealer himself gave officers a call. Trevor Katz of Salt Lake City called police to tell them he was the victim of an assault and robbery. Katz claimed a few people he knew assaulted him and took a laptop. Officers found the suspects and questioned them regarding the assault on Katz. In a tattle for tattle exchange to possibly deflect blame or just to get back at Katz for involving the police, the suspects reacted to the allegations by letting police know that the victim was a known drug dealer.

Online to street drug dealer

It turned out there was evidence supporting the claims surrounding Katz’s criminal entrepreneurship. When Katz was apprehended, he enough Ecstasy on him to warrant intent to distribute charges. Through the investigation, authorities discovered Katz was purchasing drugs such as Ecstasy through a backchannel online platform known as the dark web and having them shipped to his Utah residence. Katz is accused of then taking those illegal drugs and distributing them around the Salt Lake valley. He was arrested and is awaiting charges related to his possession with intent to distribute the pills. Police reports do not state what charges were made for his attackers.

Party pills

Ecstasy is known as a party pill or club drug and is often taken at clubs, raves, and other events with crowds of people, loud music, and flashing lights. Since Ecstasy is so well known across the party scene, many do not understand the legal repercussions that can occur from possessing or distributing Ecstasy to others. Even just a very small dose of Ecstasy could land a person behind bars.

Schedule I drug

Photo by: Chris Breikss

Ecstasy or MDMA is considered by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to be a Schedule I drug. The DEA states “Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse and the potential to create severe psychological and/or physical dependence.” They also note that schedule I drugs have “ no currently accepted medical use”. Other Schedule I drugs include heroin, peyote, LSD and even marijuana, the “drug” now legal to use recreationally in 11 states.

Intent to distribute

According to Utah Code 58-37-8, “it is unlawful for a person to knowingly and intentionally:

  • (i) produce, manufacture, or dispense, or to possess with intent to produce, manufacture, or dispense, a controlled or counterfeit substance;
  • (ii) distribute a controlled or counterfeit substance, or to agree, consent, offer, or arrange to distribute a controlled or counterfeit substance;
  • (iii)possess a controlled or counterfeit substance with intent to distribute; or
  • (iv) engage in a continuing criminal enterprise where: the person participates, directs, or engages in conduct that results in a violation of [one of Utah’s drug acts].. .”

That section goes on to note that possession with intent to distribute “ . . . a substance or a counterfeit of a substance classified in Schedule I or II, a controlled substance analog, or gammahydroxybutyric acid as listed in Schedule III is guilty of a second degree felony, punishable by imprisonment for not more than 15 years, and upon a second or subsequent conviction is guilty of a first degree felony”.

Contact an attorney

Many individuals facing criminal charges are aware that they should obtain legal counsel prior to police questioning. Those who are engaged in criminal activity and may be thinking of voluntarily inviting officers over, resulting in self-incrimination, should be prepared ahead of time with the number of an attorney.

Small Central Utah Town Setting Records in Drug DUI Arrests

The small, central Utah town of Richfield is setting records for its drug DUI arrests after being well-funded by the state of Utah to get impaired drivers off the street.

Small town – big reputations

Photo by: Ken Lund

Richfield City, the county seat of Sevier County, is smaller than 73 other cities in Utah but that doesn’t keep the town’s web page from boasting that it is: “. . . the hub of Central Utah, [and] the largest city for more than a hundred miles”. With a population of a mere 7,750 residents, nearby towns must be miniscule for Richfield to be able to possess that title. Being the largest town of central Utah is not the only reputation Richfield City has either; they also have a high arrest per resident ratio in regards to DUIs.

DUI rate vs Population

According to the Sixteenth Annual DUI Report to the Utah Legislature, throughout the state of Utah, “10,383 DUI-related arrests were made in FY 2018.” They also note that statewide (which includes larger cities such as those in the Salt Lake Valley) the DUI-related arrest rate is “33.5 per 10,000 population”. In pint-sized Richfield City, the amount of DUI arrests is roughly three times that of the entire statewide average.Some speculate that perhaps Richfield has such a high DUI rate due to the small town/big problems theory that no one has anything else to do besides get inebriated and drive around. In reality, there are several reason why Richfield is leading the pack with DUI arrests.

Combining factors

Photo by: 911 Bail Bonds Las Vegas

Although there’s a chance Richfield has some basic small town problems, one of them does not appear to be more individuals driving impaired. Somehow however, their officers are making more DUI arrests. A few reasons for this may include:

Type of DUI arrest. When people hear “DUI” their first thought is of people driving under the influence of alcohol. Utah Code 41-6A-502 states “A person may not operate or be in actual physical control of a vehicle within this state if the person: . . . is under the influence of alcohol, any drug, or the combined influence of alcohol and any drug to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely operating a vehicle”. The majority of the DUI arrests in Richfield city are not alcohol related. Drug DUI arrests in Richfield from substances such as marijuana, meth, and even prescription drugs are the main source of the town’s two-year DUI record. While alcohol leaves a person feeling tipsy and notably impaired, many drivers falsely assume they are okay to drive a couple hours after getting high or taking meds to manage their pain. A quick swab of the cheek or a blood test done later can confirm arresting officer’s suspicion of drug use prior to driving.

Location, location, location. Richfield is located along the I-70 corridor, a stretch of road linking Nevada to Utah and Utah to Colorado that is known for drug trafficking. Additionally, I-70 runs directly into I-15, another main artery of drug movement that travels from southern California through Vegas and all the way into Canada. The positioning of Richfield in close proximity to these dual drug trafficking corridors could increase the chances of local officers pulling over out-of-town traffickers for simple traffic violations. Additionally, Richfield officers may have a better chance at catching Utahns coming back from visiting marijuana friendly Colorado.

Focused intent. One of the top reasons Richfield may be leading the pack for drug DUI arrests is their focused intent on catching impaired drivers. Last year Richfield chose to focus less on finding drug users and instead put more emphasis on cracking down on those users when they got behind the wheel. Although the focus on DUIs may help keep people safer on Richfield roads, it just so happens to also result in greater incarceration rates than possession charges alone.

Photo by: 401(k) 2012

Financial recompense. Due to the rising DUI arrests as a result of Richfield’s focused intent on drug DUIs, the state of Utah has decided to allot (reward) money to Richfield which will help them keep the momentum going. This extra funding enables Richfield to allow select officers to work longer hours. It would not be surprising to find the overtime officers were drug recognition experts trained at spotting impaired drivers either. While Utah taxpayers may wonder where these extra funds allotted to this small town are coming from, it is the arrestees themselves paying for it as they pay to recover vehicles impounded during an arrest. Regardless of where the funds originate from, the extra money is likely a major motivator in bringing in higher DUI arrests.

Drug DUI attorney

Drug DUI arrests can result in criminal charges ranging from a class B misdemeanor for first-offenders to a third degree felony for repeat offenders or instances where a serious injury occurred.Anyone facing charges for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is encouraged to speak to an attorney regarding their options moving forward and how to best put their illegal action behind them. All other Utah residents should make certain they are not impaired in any way prior to getting behind the wheel – especially when visiting the small town of Richfield City, Utah.

Utah Police Chief Arrested for Prescription Drug DUI

A Utah police chief was arrested for prescription drug DUI after a highway patrol officer observed the chief driving recklessly north of the town of Manua.

Reckless driving

Photo by: BitterScripts

On a late January evening, Utah Highway Patrol trooper Kent Goodrich observed a Manua police vehicle driving at a high rate of speed down the median of Highway 89. Goodrich pulled the other police vehicle over and noted the driver, 49 year old Manua Police Chief Shane Zilles appeared to be inebriated. Zilles was cooperative, yet failed a field sobriety test and struggled answering simple questions being asked him as of him. Trooper Goodrich arrested Zilles as he was notably impaired and should not have been on the road putting other people and himself in danger.

Prescription Drug DUI

Zilles inability to pass the field test pointed to him likely being impaired by either alcohol or drugs. Although Zilles appeared to be intoxicated, there was no alcohol detected through a breathalyzer and a tox screen for street drugs came back negative as well. It was determined however that Zilles had not been drinking or using street drugs, yet he had consumed prescription drugs sometime prior to getting behind the wheel of the police cruiser. He was cited for prescription drug DUI and reckless driving.

Class B misdemeanor

Taking prescription drugs is not against the law if taken by the person to whom it is prescribed. It is unlawful however to drive after taking medication if it impairs the person’s ability to drive safely. Utah Code 41-6a-502 states “A person may not operate or be in actual physical control of a vehicle within this state if the person:

• . . . is under the influence of alcohol, any drug, or the combined influence of alcohol and any drug to a degree that renders the person incapable of safely operating a vehicle”.

Section 41-6a-504 warns that “The fact that a person charged with violating section 41-6a-502 is or has been legally entitled to use alcohol or a drug is not a defense against any charge of violating [said section]. Even if the prescription if legal and valid, driving under the influence of prescription drugs that cause impairment is a class B misdemeanor as noted in section 41-6a-503. That DUI charge could be enhanced to a class A misdemeanor or third degree felony if there was bodily injury as a result of an accident or a minor passenger in the vehicle.

Medication side-effects

As a law enforcement officer, Zilles should have known better than to drive impaired. When alcohol or street drugs are involved, impairment is expected. Prescription drugs however could cause impairment that is unknown to the user. Regarding Zilles, there is some information that hasn’t been released yet:

• what type of prescription drugs he was taking; and
• Whether or not it was a new prescription or something he had experience taking and therefore would have known the side effects.

While there are some medications that are known to cause drowsiness and reduced ability to drive such as sleeping pills or narcotic pain meds, others can catch a person off guard by how much they affect their capability to drive safely. It is important to read the labels and all included paperwork with new medications to see if driving impairment is a possibility. If there is any doubt on whether or not impairment could be a factor when taking a prescription medication, drivers are urged to use caution and refrain from driving if possible. Anyone facing charges related to prescription drug DUI are encouraged to seek counsel from an experience attorney.