Man accused of vehicle theft, having drugs |

Man accused of vehicle theft, having drugs

A man who police say was selling fentanyl and Xanax was arrested after he was found in possession of a stolen vehicle, authorities said.

Tristen Squire Peterson, 24, was taken into custody by Grass Valley officers around 10 p.m. Tuesday. He was booked on one felony charge of possession of a stolen vehicle, and a felony count of drug possession with intent to sell. He also faces two misdemeanor drug charges, reports state.

The arrest occurred after an officer patrolling the 400 block of Brunswick Road noticed a car that fit the description of a 1998 red Toyota Tacoma that had been reported as stolen earlier that day, according to Officer Clint Lovelady.

The officer ran the vehicle’s license plate with police dispatch and confirmed that it was the stolen Toyota. Peterson, who was associated with the vehicle when it was found, was subsequently arrested.

A police search of the car uncovered approximately 85 grams of suspected fentanyl and numerous Xanax pills, all in plastic baggies. Officers also found a digital scale with white powder residue on it, as well as a small amount of methamphetamine in the vehicle, Lovelady said.

The discovery of the digital scale, as well as the exceptionally large amount of fentanyl that was found in the plastic baggies, gave officers probable cause to book Peterson for possession with intent to distribute, Lovelady said.

Police suspect that Peterson was selling both fentanyl and Xanax, but the methamphetamine appeared to be solely for personal use due to the small amount recovered, Lovelady added.

Authorities originally began looking for the the Toyota after a caller reported his vehicle as stolen to the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office around 1 p.m. that day, according to sheriff’s Lt. Sean Scales. The man, who called authorities from the 13000 block of Allison Ranch Road in Grass Valley, said that he came home to find that a lock on his home garage had been cut and that his car was gone.

The Toyota was returned to the owner after Peterson’s arrest, police said.

Peterson remained in custody Wednesday under $10,000 in bond, reports state.

Stephen Wyer is a staff writer with The Union. He can be reached at

Tristen Squire Peterson

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