CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Drug trafficking investigation of ‘bath salts’ in SLC nets arrests, assets

Jan 24, 2023, 2:38 PM | Updated: Jan 25, 2023, 7:11 am
Salt Lake City police and DEA Metro Narcotics Task Force have arrested more than two dozen people a...
from left is SLC Police Chief Mike Brown, DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Dustin Gillespie, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Assistant Special Agent in Charge Brandon Crane (Adam Small, KSL NewsRadio)
(Adam Small, KSL NewsRadio)

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City police and DEA Metro Narcotics Task Force have arrested more than two dozen people and seized millions of dollars in assets as part of a major drug trafficking investigation.

The arrests and asset seizures were connected to an investigation into a drug known as bath salts.

Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown called the investigation significant.

“(It) revealed that bath salt distributors, and distribution of bath salts is widespread throughout the Salt Lake Valley, and has a detrimental effect on all our local communities,” Brown said at a press conference on Tuesday.

“To break it down even further,” Brown said, “this investigation resulted in the arrest of 25 people. Twenty-one vehicles were seized, worth more than $400,000.” Jewelry and designer handbags were also seized, totaling $600,000, Brown said.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse describes bath salts, or synthetic cathinones, as “a human-made stimulant chemically related to cathinone, a substance found in the khat plant.”

Brown said the drug can cause agitation, paranoia, delusions, and death. And it is a profitable endeavor, with the potential for just 500 grams of bath salts to sell for $200.000.

And while officials couldn’t offer more information about the arrests and seizures, they said they wanted to send a message.

“We will not let drug trafficking go unchecked in Salt Lake City,” Chief Brown said, “or in the state of Utah.”

Simone Seikaly contributed.

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