Utah Police Find Five Pounds of Marijuana Candy after Responding to a Reported Theft

Police officers in Vineyard, Utah were responding to a report of a theft and ended up finding five pounds of marijuana candy instead.

Think before you call

Marijuana Candy

Photo by: Jorge Romero

20 year old Taylor Sauers of Vineyard, Utah called police to file a report regarding a theft of a handgun, cash, and other valuables from his apartment. When police arrived at the residence, they noted an obvious marijuana odor coming from inside. The smell of marijuana was considered enough probable cause for a search warrant, and when officers returned to search the property, they located nearly five pounds of marijuana candy in the form of gummy bears.

Second degree intent to distribute marijuana candy

Sauers is facing a second degree felony for intent to distribute the marijuana candy, along with two class B misdemeanor charges related to possession and paraphernalia. No information was released regarding the stolen goods, however the large lump sum of money missing is assumed to be drug money and Sauers will not be able to own the handgun anyway if his felony charge sticks. The young adult is likely regretting his call to police, which turned out worse for him that it did for the thief.

One to 15 years

Photo by: houstondwiPhotos mp

Photo by: houstondwiPhotos mp

A second degree felony in the state of Utah carries a possible prison term of one to 15 years in prison as well as a $10,000 fine. Each class B misdemeanor may tack on an additional $1,000 and six month behind bars if sentences run consecutively. With 15 plus years on the line, Sauers and anyone else charged with intent to distribute marijuana candy or any other illegal drugs are encouraged to seek legal counsel.

“Happy Endings” Massage Parlors Busted for Sexual Solicitation in Utah

Five “happy endings” massage parlors in St. George Utah were busted for sexual solicitation after undercover officers were offered sexual favors for cash following a massage.

Happy endings massage parlors

Photo by: Morgan Sherwood

Photo by: Morgan Sherwood

Four massage parlors in St. George (and one in Washington City) were part of an investigation after several witnesses came forward to claim they had been offered sexual favors following a massage, otherwise known as happy endings massages. Other residents voiced their concerns about the amount of male-only traffic seen at the businesses in question. Following nearly a half- year of investigation, Utah authorities arrested seven women from five massage parlors for either prostitution, unlawful conduct, or both.

Practicing massage without a license

The five businesses that were part of the investigation were: Japan Massage, Golden Coast Massage, Massage Therapy, and both locations of Dixie Massage. The seven women arrested in the prostitution sting, many of whom were residents of California, were as named: Yuxoang Wang, Li Ying, Dong Ju Jin, Yuhua Liu, Feng Fang Li, Jumei Qin, and Shanmei Olmstead. All of the above women face charges of unlawful conduct for practicing massage without a license, a class A misdemeanor.

Sexual solicitation a.k.a. prostitution

No Sexual Solicitation

Photo by: Walker Larry

Three of the women arrested for unlawful conduct are also facing charges for sexual solicitation. According to Utah Code 76-10-1313, “A person is guilty of sexual solicitation when the person:

a) Offers or agrees to commit any sexual activity with another person for a fee, or the functional equivalent of a fee;

b) Pays or offers or agrees to pay a fee to another person to commit any sexual activity; or

c) with intent to engage in sexual activity for a fee or to pay another person to commit any sexual activity for a fee engages in, offers or agrees to engage in, or requests or directs another to engage in any of the following acts:

i. exposure of a person’s genitals, the buttocks, the anus, the pubic area, or the female breast below the top of the areola;

ii. masturbation;

iii. touching of a person’s genitals, the buttocks, the anus, the pubic area, or the female breast; or

iv. any act of lewdness.”

More charges pending

Authorities stated that more charges for sexual solicitation are likely pending. Those facing charges could include other employees of the massage parlors as well as clients who paid to have happy endings massages. Sexual solicitation is a class B misdemeanor and punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Those individuals facing charges are encouraged to speak with a criminal defense attorney immediately.

Interfering with an Arrest in Utah When No Crime Has Been Committed

If a Utah police officer attempts to detain a suspect but a bystander is certain no crime has been committed, it is still recommended to allow officers to proceed to avoid facing possible charges for interfering with an arrest.

Do as you’re told

Photo by: Keith Allison

Photo by: Keith Allison

Law enforcement has been under increased scrutiny lately for many hot button issues such as police brutality and violation of constitutional rights. This has caused a widespread public disregard toward those once respected in uniform. This insolence toward law enforcement may give Utah residents the false notion that they can stand their ground if they feel someone is being arrested without cause. Unfortunately by interfering with an arrest, that person meddling may end up facing charges for their intrusion even if the charges for which they were interfering are dropped or deemed unlawful.

Interfering with an arrest

If an individual refuses to comply with law enforcement or attempts to stop a police officer from making an arrest, they can be charged with resisting arrest, otherwise known by Utah law as interference with arresting officer. Utah Code 76-8-305 states “a person is guilty of a class B misdemeanor if he has knowledge, or by the exercise of reasonable care should have knowledge, that a peace officer is seeking to effect a lawful arrest or detention of that person or another and interferes with the arrest or detention
(1) use of force or any weapon;
(2) the arrested person’s refusal to perform any act required by lawful order:
(a) necessary to effect the arrest or detention; and
(b) made by a peace officer involved in the arrest or detention; or

(3) the arrested person’s or another person’s refusal to refrain from performing any act that would impede the arrest or detention.”

Lawful is irrelevant

Interfering with an arrest

Photo by: Stever Baker

Although the above section states that no one should interfere with a lawful arrest, the world lawful is irrelevant as courts often look at statute’s plain language. For this reason, whether or not an arrest is lawful shouldn’t cause a person to decide that they have the right to get in the middle of police business. According to the State [of Washington] v. Holeman, “The determination of whether an arrest is lawful is often difficult and should not be left to bystanders who may have only a limited knowledge of the relevant law and who may let their emotions control their judgment.”

Acting within the scope of their authority

When it comes to making an arrest, officers are expected only to think they are making a lawful arrest. In the case of American Fork v. Pena-Flores, Nov 16 2000, it states: “Although police must have reasonable suspicion in order to make a legal detention, the use of “lawful” in section 76-8-305 does not automatically incorporate this standard in determining whether a person is guilty of interfering with a peace officer. So long as a police officer is acting within the scope of his or her authority and the detention or arrest has the indicia of being lawful, a person can be guilty of interfering with a peace officer even when the arrest or detention is later determined to be unlawful.”

Know the law

Regardless of what Utah residents feel toward law enforcement, they are not entitled to stop an officer from doing their job. Interfering with an arrest, whether or not it turns out to be lawful, will usually end badly for those trying to rid the world of injustice, one arrest at a time. If someone feels a person was detained unlawfully without reasonable suspicion or if they witnessed extreme use of force by police or a complete disregard for the detainee’s constitutional rights, it is best to file a complaint with the arresting officer’s supervisor. For those who overstepped their place and are facing charges for interfering with an arrest, contact a criminal defense attorney.