Law enforcement cites interstate as major source for drug smuggling

I-70 in Mesa County
I-70 in Mesa County(KKCO)
Published: Jul. 25, 2022 at 4:35 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - Since the start of July, at least three drug busts have been made with ties to Interstate 70 in Mesa County. Officials said the interstate is a major drug pipeline.

This comes from the most recent bust on Friday, July 22, when the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office said deputies along with the Colorado State Patrol pulled a man over for traveling 110-mph in a 75-mph zone.

The sheriff’s office said that 22-year-old Jaylin Lemons, from Phoenix, Arizona, was driving eastbound on I-70 when he was pulled over near mile marker seven.

“They issued a ticket and then did a what’s called an “open-air sniff with a canine unit,” said Lt. Henry Stoffel, with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office. “And the dog alerted that there was narcotics in the car.”

Stoffel said deputies found 29.2 pounds of cocaine and two firearms in the car. Lemons was cited for speeding and then taken into custody facing drug charges. But this is just one of several other drug busts in recent weeks, many of which come from travelers on I-70.

“It is a main corridor for the transport of drugs, and we work it pretty hard,” said Stoffel. “It’s been that way for years. We’ll have phases where we catch a lot and we’re able to make contact with a lot of people and make those stops.”

On July 18, two men were arrested on I-70 near Mack and were accused of smuggling six pounds of meth and hundreds of blue pills that are believed to be fentanyl.

On July 6 another man was arrested by State Troopers on I-70 and was accused of having ten pounds of fentanyl in the rental truck he was driving.

In this most recent case, according to the sheriff’s office, Lemons said he was driving through Colorado headed to the east coast. Lt. Stoffel said although these drug dealers have different destinations in mind, the drugs still affect Mesa County.

“We want to reduce the impact is although it’s continuing further east, it’s going to stop here,” said Stoffel. “And it’s going to end up in our community and we want to get these drugs out of our community.”

Jaylin Lemons was booked into the Mesa County Detention Facility. However, he’s since posted bail and was released.

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