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WHP stop yields 73 pounds of pot in holiday bust near Lyman

Posted: Thursday, Dec 5th, 2013

Over 70 pounds of marijuana sits outside a motor home near Lyman, where two suspects were arrested after being stopped by a state trooper for following another vehicle too closely last Saturday, Nov. 30. (COURTESY PHOTO/Wyoming Highway Patrol)

LYMAN — State troopers seized over $400,000 worth of marijuana last Saturday, Nov. 30, during a traffic stop near Lyman. The stop came during the Wyoming Highway Patrol’s holiday enforcement efforts and yielded over 73.5 pounds of pot and two arrests.

Mario Lopez-Garcia aka Salvador G. Lopez and Dawn Marie Dustin have been charged with felony possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver.

According to court documents, a trooper stopped the two near mile marker 50 on I-80 for following too closely in a white Ford motorhome with Idaho plates registered to and driven by Dustin.

According to an affidavit from the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, Lopez-Garcia identified himself as Salvador G. Lopez, but on Monday, Dec. 2, officials learned from FBI records that his fingerprints came back as those of Mario Lopez-Garcia and he’s used approximately 15 different aliases.

The affidavit states that he “has an extensive criminal history for several crimes including distribution of controlled substances, drug trafficking, felony possession of controlled substances and illegal re-entry of a previously deported alien.”

After stopping the vehicle, WHP Trooper Brandon Dyson said in an affidavit he approached the vehicle and was met with two “not friendly” dogs, so he asked Dustin to retrieve her license and vehicle paperwork and meet him outside the vehicle.

“While at the door of the vehicle, I observed very limited personal items in the vehicle — items I normally observe in a motor home type vehicle consistent with camping or traveling,” Dyson said.

The officer said he became suspicious of the duo after Dustin’s nervousness and anxiety — something that usually subsides over the course of the stop — appeared to heighten.

Dyson said Dustin showed signs of deception about her travel plans and attempted to give abnormal amounts of certain information in an apparent attempt to convince him of her story yet was very vague about other details and “appeared to be making parts of the story up as she went along.”

According to court documents, the trooper then questioned Lopez-Garcia, who, Dyson said, gave drastically different answers than Dustin had regarding their trip origination, destination and purpose.

“It appeared they were not on the same trip,” he said.

The officer said Dustin gave consent to search the vehicle and paperwork was found that placed the parties and the vehicle about 1,500 miles from where they should have been, according to their travel plans.

“K9 Hank,” a WHP drug-sniffing dog, was put to work and alerted officers to the odor of one of five controlled substances he is trained to detect. A thorough search was then conducted and officers found 50 packages containing marijuana, packaged for distribution, according to Dyson.

If convicted, the duo faces up to 10 years in prison, fines of $10,000, or both.

Extra troopers were allowed to work overtime during the holiday crackdown. In addition to this large drug bust, troopers across the state made one other arrest for drug possession, located a fugitive wanted on a nationwide felony warrant and apprehended two people with outstanding Wyoming warrants.

Two arrests were made for DUI and WHP troopers assisted 123 motorists and investigated 77 vehicle crashes throughout the state over the holiday weekend.

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