On September 13, 2014, Kane County Deputies were called to assist a Utah Department of Natural Resources Officer on a traffic stop. The conservation officer had completed a traffic stop on a vehicle after being run off the road by the driver. The Sheriff’s Deputies arrested the driver and passenger in the vehicle for DUI, Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

It was discovered that there were actually three vehicles traveling together in the group. Kane County Drug Task Force officers were called in to look at the case further as there were suspicious circumstances. The investigation revealed three subjects were attempting to transport a large quantity of methamphetamine from Phoenix, Arizona to Ogden, Utah. 

The initial search of the vehicle resulted in the discovery of approximately a half an ounce of methamphetamine, a personal use amount of marijuana, and some drug paraphernalia. It was discovered that one of the occupants, Jesus E Wirichaga, who was an illegal alien and known felon from Mexico, had discarded a handgun out the window just prior to being stopped. The deputies recovered the firearm. The other occupant was indentified as James W Mathenson, of Ogden, Utah. 

After believing the circumstances might warrant federal charges, the Kane County Drug Task Force called local DEA officers in to assist in the case. The next morning nine pounds of methamphetamine was discovered in one of the vehicles. A third suspect, Jesus (Jessie) Martinez, was arrested with the load of meth. Later, the suspected ringleader, Derrick A Gobel, was arrested in Kanab while attempting to retrieve the loaded vehicle containing the methamphetamine.

This case required support from many agencies. The Kane County Drug Task Force sincerely appreciates the assistance. Utah is a much safer place with these folks behind bars. 

All charges were dismissed locally and filed in Federal District Court in this matter. The suspects were released from the Kane County Jail into federal custody.