By Travis Uresk
On 12/8/23, Deputy Roth was traveling East on US-40 near 1050 West when a vehicle pulled out of the Vernal's McDonald's parking lot and into the interior eastbound lane.
The vehicle quickly changed to the outside lane without signaling, darting in front of Deputy Roth's vehicle to turn East onto 100 South, causing the Deputy to apply his brakes to avoid a collision.
Deputy Roth turned on his emergency lights and conducted a traffic stop. While speaking with the driver, the passenger was shaking, and sweat was beginning to build up along his face while he was focused on eating his food. Deputy Roth called for a K9 to perform a free air sniff around the vehicle.
Officer Oldham arrived on the scene with his K9, and the K9 showed a positive indication of narcotics in the vehicle.
The unknown driver and 27-year-old Rodrigel Ponce were asked to step out of the vehicle and asked if they had anything illegal on them or inside the vehicle that would cause a positive indication from the K9. Both denied any knowledge of anything.
While searching the vehicle, Officer Oldham saw a tooter straw fall from Rodrigel's hoodie pocket and land on the ground where he had been standing.
Rodrigel was placed in handcuffs; at this time, he admitted to using the day before, and after being read his Miranda Rights, he refused to answer any more questions, only to state that the tooter straw was already on the ground before he got there.
Rodrigel was informed that he was now under arrest for Possession of a Controlled Substance, and he was transported to the Uintah County Jail.