Monday, April 14, 2014

Idaho State Police Troopers Recognized "Beyond the Traffic Stop"

IDAHO STATE POLICE NEWS RELEASE - generated by our News Release ListServer

Teresa Baker
Public Information Officer
700 S. Stratford Dr., Meridian 83642
(208) 884-7122
Fax (208) 884-7087

For Immediate Release: 4/14/14 at 1:25 p.m.

MERIDIAN - Idaho State Police Troopers Vance Cox, Steve Otto and Alma Walker will be receiving recognition for their criminal interdiction work during the Idaho Highway Safety Summit tomorrow, April 15th. Additionally, Deputy Jason Stewart, Bonneville County Sheriff's Office, will also receive the award.

The awards stem from what first appeared to be a typical traffic stops for the three Troopers, but with the effective questioning of the drivers stopped and observations made by the Troopers, the traffic stops resulted in the removal of large amounts of illegal drugs from our communities, burglaries and an armed robbery being solved and the arrest of those suspected to be perpetrating these crimes.

The details of the two incidents are as follows:

On March 9, 2013 at approximately 2:05 a.m., Trooper Vance Cox stopped a U-Haul truck on U.S. Highway 20 near Idaho Falls. During the traffic stop, Trooper Cox visited with the driver and passenger of the U-Haul truck and then requested the assistance of a Bonneville County Sheriff's Office drug dog. Deputy Jason Stewart and his K-9, Ringo, were dispatched to assist Trooper Vance on the traffic stop. The K-9 dog alerted to the presence of narcotics and when a search was conducted on the contents within the U-Haul truck, Trooper Vance and Deputy Stewart located 52 pounds of methamphetamine and 27 pounds of cocaine. The street value of these drugs is approximately $1.2 million dollars. This was one of the largest drug seizures in Idaho's history.

On June 18, 2013 at 2:27 p.m., Trooper Steve Otto stopped a BMW for failing to signal a lane change on Interstate 15, in Oneida County. During the questioning of the driver, Trooper Otto suspected that the driver and his passengers were involved in other criminal activity and Otto called assistance from other Troopers, as well as, Idaho State Police detectives.

As a result of Trooper Otto's traffic stop three suspects were arrested and four burglaries were solved. The charges against the suspects included: Grand Theft by Possession, Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Resisting and Obstructing an Officer, Carrying a Concealed Weapon Without a Permit, and Petty Theft. One suspect was also indicted in U.S. District Court for Idaho for Aggravated Illegal Re-entry into the United States and Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person. Immigrations Customs and Enforcement (ICE) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) joined the investigation that resulted in the federal charges.

Trooper Otto seized 23 grams of methamphetamine, ten stolen guns including 6 rifles, 1 shotgun and 3 handguns. The suspects initially admitted to burglaries in Madison County and Bannock County. Through the thorough investigation by Idaho State Police, two additional burglaries in Bingham County were also solved and the suspects were charged in those cases.

On January 27, 2014, while in Cassia County, Trooper Alma Walker heard over the radio a description of a vehicle used in an armed robbery that had just occurred at the Amber Inn Motel in Jerome County. The description was simply "a truck" without specific make, color or size. Trooper Walker waited on Interstate 84 and using time and distance, figured the approximate time the vehicle would possibly be passing by his location. At about 8:31 p.m., he saw an SUV pass by that was traveling above the posted speed limit.

Trooper Walker stopped the Chevrolet Tahoe and immediately noticed that the two male occupants were acting more nervous than someone stopped for speeding and appeared to be concealing something. At the same time a citizen reported to ISP dispatch that a bag was thrown from the vehicle prior to the traffic stop. Cassia County Sheriff's Deputy Emery arrived as backup and found the bag containing a gun and the stolen cash along the interstate. As a result of this traffic stop, the suspects in the armed robbery were arrested within an hour of the robbery, the money stolen was recovered and the gun used in the crime.

"These traffic stops show what can happen when Troopers apply the 'look, listen, think' philosophy and look for criminal activities being conducted on our state's highways that would not be detected if observations were not made beyond the initial reason for the traffic stop," said Idaho State Police Lt. Chris Weadick. "This is also a great example of how agencies can partner together for the common goal of intercepting criminal activity."

The awards will be presented during a luncheon at the Riverside Hotel at noon on April 15th. Interviews can be arranged by contacting Idaho State Police Public Information Officer Teresa Baker at 208-884-7122 or by email at