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A Police K9 Alerts On Fentanyl & Meth During A Traffic Stop


Uintah County, Ut.—On March 10th, 2024, Officer McGaha was patrolling on Highway 40 near 3600 South when a vehicle approaching the officer was traveling 79 mph in a 55 mph zone.

A traffic stop was initiated at 3500 South and Highway 40. Inside the vehicle were a male driver and a female passenger. The male, identified as Joshua Blake Rhodes, whose actions appeared sluggish. His eyes were pinpoint and bloodshot, and his speech was slow.

The passenger also seemed to be impaired. Her eyes were severely bloodshot, and her speech was slurred and slow in reaction time.

Joshua was asked to exit the truck and asked when the last time he had smoked Fentanyl was. Joshua stated it had been a few days, but he had smoked meth 10 hours ago.

Officer McGaha called for a K9 to assist in the traffic stop and perform a free-air sniff around the vehicle.

While waiting for the K9, the officer asked Joshua if there was anything in the vehicle, and he stated that he did not know of anything.

Joshua was advised he was being arrested for DUI after failing the SFSTs.

Joshua asked if he could be let go and said he didn't need a DUI on his record. He then asked if he could smoke a few puffs off his cigar. The officer asked for permission to find a lighter from Joshua's vehicle, and he agreed.

When approaching the vehicle, the officer noticed a fresh piece of tinfoil with burnt pill chase marks.

Officer Oldham arrived with his K9. The female passenger, identified as 32-year-old Falon Kori Merkley, was asked to roll up her window.

The Police K9 gave a positive alert to the driver's door area from the free air sniff, and a probable cause search of the vehicle was conducted, where multiple items were found.

Under the driver's seat, a silver tooter straw with burnt residue was located. When Joshua was asked about it, he stated he smoked Fentanyl out of it on the tinfoil.

In Falon's purse was a yellow eyeglasses case with three loaded syringes with a clear liquid. There were four blue M30 Fentanyl pills also inside the glasses case. A meth pipe with a burnt bulb and white residue throughout the pipe was found. There was a baggie located with methamphetamine residue inside. Also inside the purse were multiple paraphernalia items with the narcotics.

After Joshua and Falon were advised of their Miranda Rights, Falon stated the syringes were loaded with an Oral Barbiturate Ativan, and there could be meth inside the case. She said both of them smoked meth 10 hours ago and smoked Fentanyl pills in Rangely, Co, then drove straight back to Utah.

Joshua stated the same that he had taken Falon to Colorado to purchase the Fentanyl pills. He said they both smoked the Fentanyl before leaving Colorado and then drove straight back to Utah.

Joshua was transported to the Ashley Regional Medical Center, where he submitted to a blood draw.

Joshua Rhoades and Falon Merkley were then transported to the Uintah County Jail.

On March 5th, 2024, Officer McGaha made consensual contact with Joshua Blake Rhodes. Joshua stated he had been using Fentanyl regularly. Joshua stated he used Fentanyl daily with as many pills as he could smoke. He said he respects the residence where he lives as he has children there. Rhodes stated he smokes Fentanyl in his truck. This truck belongs to Double Hook Inc. and is used by Rhodes as a daily use vehicle as it is parked at his residence.


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