$11.7 million worth of drugs seized in I-15 stops

A Bureau of Indian Affairs K-9 officer and partner conduct an outside search of a rental truck ...

A law enforcement operation along Interstate 15 at the Moapa River Indian Reservation has led to the confiscation of $11.7 million worth of drugs, including $8 million worth of marijuana and $2.3 million worth of fentanyl, authorities said Thursday.

Nevada Highway Patrol spokeswoman Ashlee Wellman said an investigation started May 6 with a law enforcement task force carrying out more than 200 traffic stops and 57 vehicle searches along the interstate.

The weeklong operation, Wellman said, led to the confiscation of 2,093 pounds of marijuana, 36 pounds of fentanyl, nearly 29 pounds of cocaine worth $1.2 million, about 25 grams of heroin and 21 grams of methamphetamine.

A stop of a rental truck within the reservation’s boundaries on May 9 led to the discovery of 72 large bags of marijuana, Wellman said, calling it the “largest illegal marijuana seizure in Nevada State Police history.” Tahmir Ishon Debman and Hariz Iasir Purvis were each arrested on suspicion of trafficking marijuana, and are facing felony charges, she said.

Authorities did not detail any of the other traffic stops.

The task force carrying out the stops consisted of the Bureau of Indian Affairs Division of Drug Enforcement, the Moapa River Indian Reservation Police Department, the Nevada State Police, officers from Las Vegas and Henderson police, as well as other federal investigators.

“This operation helped us identify drug, human and sex trafficking activities that occur daily along Interstate 15 through the Moapa River Indian Reservation,” said acting Moapa Tribal police Chief Jeff Harper in a press release.

Contact Glenn Puit by email at gpuit@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.