An Idaho man was recently sentenced to prison on drug trafficking charges after hiding methamphetamine in condiment bottles – including sriracha and mustard.
Derek Bryan Lee Gandall, 41, was sentenced to spend 5-10 years in state prison last Wednesday by Seventh District Judge Bruce L. Pickett after pleading guilty to felony drug trafficking.
According to East Idaho News, Gandall was arrested in November 2021 on a litany of charges involving a never-returned rental car.
The rental company in question had reported a 2020 white Jeep Grand Cherokee stolen, saying the defendant rented it but never took it back after the rental term expired. Four days after that report, Idaho Falls Police officers took notice of a potentially “stolen white Jeep.”
Law enforcement were also aware that Gandall was out on parole – though in violation of the conditions of his parole – on a drug charge. A plan was then devised to stack several charges on the wanted man.
Posing as a drug buyer, an undercover officer used a Facebook alias to set up a purchase from the defendant at a motel in the area.
Oddly enough, Gandall did not arrive in the white Jeep. Instead, as he told the officer involved in the sting, he drove to the motel in a black Chevrolet pickup truck, according to an affidavit of probable cause obtained by East Idaho News.
That document says Gandall spotted the police presence, “exited the vehicle and began to run around the north side of the motel.”
After briefly giving chase to officers at the motel, the defendant was arrested across the street. A small amount of a powdery substance was allegedly on his person. Then another officer allegedly spotted a gun inside the pickup – which led to a search of the vehicle.
That search turned up several hundred rounds of ammunition, handgun magazines, drug paraphernalia of various sorts including baggies and pipes, several hundred fentanyl pills, and a backpack containing what appeared to be bundles of mustard and sriracha containers wrapped in cellophane. Investigators would later learn that those condiment containers were also filled with methamphetamine.
Gandall later admitted to using the pungent aromas of the popular table sauces to mask the smell of the drugs in the event he happened by drug-sniffing dogs, the affidavit reportedly says.
At the time he was booked on the parole warrant, a felony methamphetamine trafficking charge, possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of a firearm, misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, and resisting arrest.
Law enforcement also noted that the defendant, when arrested, was also wanted for felony robbery in Montana and that theft charges viz. the white jeep that started it all were still pending.
Ultimately, Gandall took a plea deal on the lone trafficking charge and the additional charges against him were dropped. He was additionally ordered to pay nearly $16,000 in legal fees.
The defendant was still being detained in the Bonneville County Jail as of this writing, according to records reviewed by Law&Crime.
[images: sriracha sauce bottles via Justin Sullivan/Getty Images; Derek Gandall via Bonneville County Jail]
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