RUPERT — Police say a Rupert man had a large-scale meth operation and in text messages to buyers used the word “potato” as a code word for his wares.
Jesus A. Diaz Rubio, 29, was arrested by the Mini-Cassia Drug Task Force on Tuesday after a drug bust in the Jackson area in Cassia County. He is charged with one count felony drug trafficking.
According to court records, the task force was told about a “large-scale” methamphetamine operation taking place on a farm through a deal with a police informant.
The informant told police he would pick up 296 grams of methamphetamine that would be buried next to a crossroads sign and he would leave $2,000 in cash wrapped in tin foil to pay off a previous drug debt.
Rubio would send text messages saying he would leave “10 potatoes” at the location for pickup, which officers said was a coded message meaning 10 ounces of meth.
Police found the drugs buried in plastic baggies about two-inches from the surface of the ground underneath a piece of a Coca-Cola cardboard carton. The money was wrapped in tin foil and placed in the hole and covered with the same cardboard.
Police said Rubio sent another text message to the informant that said, “Let me know when you get the potatoes so I can get the money.”
As the task force watched a single-cab white Chevrolet pickup approached the intersection and Rubio got out and went over to the drop location. As police followed his vehicle, Rubio started driving faster and drove to a mobile home at 1185 E. 400 N.
Officers reported finding $9,000 in cash on Rubio, but none of the money matched the serial numbers of the money that was left in the hole. The money was also not found in the pickup, but a Coke box with a piece missing was found behind the seats.
Officers noticed it was 30 degrees outside and Rubio’s driver’s side window was open. It had been snowing, so police retraced the route he had taken. They found the piece of cardboard that was buried at the signpost and found the tinfoil with money inside it about five feet from the road, where police say, Rubio threw it from the pickup.
Police say Rubio admitted to placing the methamphetamine in the hole on his way to work and picking up the money and throwing it out the window. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 27 in Cassia County Magistrate Court.