CRIME

Over two dozen indicted in large drug bust in Salt Lake City

Jun 1, 2021, 7:02 PM | Updated: 7:03 pm
drug bust salt lake city...
(Acting US Attorney for Utah, Andrea Martinez, at podium, describing the charges filed against alleged members of the drug ring. Photo: Paul Nelson)
(Acting US Attorney for Utah, Andrea Martinez, at podium, describing the charges filed against alleged members of the drug ring. Photo: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY – A large drug bust took place in Salt Lake City Tuesday afternoon. Federal prosecutors have indicted 27 people for their role in bringing hundreds of pounds of drugs into Salt Lake City. Investigators report they’re not just concerned with the number of drugs this ring brought into the city, but they’re also concerned about the groups that have teamed together to supply them.

Large drug bust in Salt Lake City

Several different law enforcement agencies teamed together to track this particular ring. Investigators believe members of the Norteno gang brought the drugs into Salt Lake County for redistribution. 

Acting US Attorney for Utah Andrea Martinez said they believe this group brought in more than 400 pounds of drugs into Utah between 2020 and 2021.

“During this new investigation, law enforcement seized more than 42 pounds of methamphetamine, seven pounds of heroin, 5,000 fentanyl pills, 71 grams of fentanyl powder, 15 firearms and more than $25,000 during the course of the operation,” she said.

Prosecutors filed 34 federal charges against 27 people, which include continuing in a criminal enterprise, conspiracy to distribute, conspiracy to launder money and possession with intent to distribute. Five additional people were later named in a smaller indictment.

Martinez said, “Among the 32 defendants charged during this operation, 11 of them were previously convicted of “crimes in federal court here in Utah, and in Wyoming.”

Cartels coming together to supply drugs in Utah

While law enforcement was thrilled to be taking such a large amount of drugs off the streets, they’re also concerned about the groups providing the drugs. Agent Jay Tinkler with the DEA said meth is still the most popular drug in Utah, but what they’re seeing now is far more potent.

He said, “We’re looking at meth purity levels above 95 percent.  In the early 2000s, you just didn’t see that.”

Tinkler reported this is the first time they can link the Sinaloa cartel with the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion, or the CJNG, bringing drugs into Utah. He said CJNG is already well-known in other parts of the country, but Utah was previously considered Sinaloa “territory.”

“[You should be concerned] when you see two major criminal organizations starting to work together, become more compatible and spend less time fighting between themselves and making business decisions,” according to Tinkler.

Officials say the CJNG has the funding to mass-produce meth in quantities smaller drug dealers haven’t been able to make.  Plus, the cartel is becoming known for its extreme violence against high-ranking leaders in Mexico.

Tinkler said the level of violence connected to meth trafficking is already worse than it is for other drugs.

“You don’t see that violent crime when you see marijuana trafficking, fentanyl or heroin.  What you see is the violence tied to methamphetamine,” he said.

Today’s Top Stories

Crime

break car window dog...
Mark Jones

Dog dies after being left in hot car for more than an hour

A dog died Tuesday after being left in a hot car for more than an hour, according to Salt Lake County Animal Services.
22 hours ago
Utah Highway Patrol stopped 4,937 vehicles over the Fourth of July weekend....
Mark Jones

Busy Fourth of July weekend for Utah Highway Patrol

In statistics released Tuesday, the Utah Highway Patrol says its Troopers made contact with 4,937 drivers over the Fourth of July weekend, making it a busy one.
22 hours ago
First responders work the scene of a shooting at a Fourth of July parade on July 4, 2022, in Highla...
Amir Vera, Jason Hanna, Adrienne Broaddus and Helen Regan, CNN

Highland Park parade shooting suspect charged with 7 counts of murder, state’s attorney says

Officials in Illinois have filed seven counts of first-degree murder against the individual suspected of being involved in the Highland Park shooting Monday.
22 hours ago
A sign with the Taylorsville Police Department logo reads "Police Department"...
Aimee Cobabe and Samantha Herrera

Man in custody after high-speed chase through Taylorsville

A high-speed chase through Taylorsville Monday afternoon led to the arrest of a 51-year-old man who police say violated his felony probation.
22 hours ago
People leave Field's shopping centre, after Danish police said they received reports of shooting, i...
Kim Norgaard, Pierre Meilhan and Jorge Engels, CNN

Several people killed in Copenhagen mall shooting, police say

shooting at a mall in Copenhagen has left several people dead, local police said Sunday.
3 days ago
Image from the scene of the shooting on South Major street in Salt Lake City (Photo courtesy of SLC...
Chandler Holt

UPDATE: SLCPD arrest two in connection to Sunday’s Ballpark neighborhood shooting

Police received multiple calls regarding shots fired near 1485 South Major Street at around 5:30 a.m. on Sunday July 3, 2022. 
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Over two dozen indicted in large drug bust in Salt Lake City