Incline man arrested in 500-pound pot bust
Nevada Appeal News Service
INCLINE VILLAGE – South Dakota law enforcement officials have arrested one Incline Village man and are searching for another who they believe took part in a recent drug trafficking scheme that led to the seizure of nearly 500 pounds of marijuana.
William Mitchell, 34, of Incline Village, was arrested on April 8 at an Interstate 90 rest area near White Lake, S.D., by the Brule County Sheriff’s Office after a search of his truck led officers to find 497 pounds of high-grade marijuana, valued at a reported street value of
$4 million. Mitchell has been charged with felony possession and intent to deliver charges, according to an affidavit from South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper Matt Oxner.
Nathan Delgado, 35, also of Incline Village, remains at large and is wanted by the South Dakota Highway Patrol for questioning for his alleged connection with the case, according Oxner’s affidavit, which revealed the following information:
• On April 8, Oxner pulled over Delgado, traveling eastbound, outside of Rapid City, S.D. (located in Pennington County, the eastern side of the state), for a routine speeding stop. Oxner noted Delgado’s high level of nervousness, and after a police canine detected the scent of illegal drugs in the car, Oxner searched the vehicle, failing to locate contraband. Delgado eventually was released.
• Oxner said he suspected that Delgado and his car – a rental from a Truckee rental car agency – were serving as a decoy in a sophisticated trafficking operation. “The decoy vehicle’s main job is to get stopped, which in turn takes up the Officer’s time as the loaded vehicle gets to drive by untouched,” Oxner said.
• Oxner, who learned Delgado stayed in a hotel in Sundance, Wyo., during questioning, later that day contacted the clerk in charge of the hotel and determined Delgado had stayed in the hotel with Mitchell. After obtaining a description for Mitchell’s vehicle – a light tan Chevy pickup pulling a trailer – Oxner checked the video in his patrol car and verified a vehicle of that exact description passed while he had Delgado pulled over.
• Oxner forwarded the description on to SDHP officers Chris Koltz and Andrew Steen. A short time later, Brule County Deputy Scott Powers located Mitchell’s truck, followed it, observed numerous moving violations and later conducted a canine search when Mitchell exited the highway into a rest area near White Lake, S.D. (in Aurora County, east of Brule County), where officers uncovered three large steel crates, two of which contained 497 pounds of hydroponic marijuana.
According to an April 16 story in the Rapid City Journal, Mitchell remained in custody in the Aurora County Jail.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Rapid City office of the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation at 605-394-2258.