March 16th, 2011, was a big day for officers involved in the ceaseless battle against methamphetamine distribution in Utah. On this crisp spring day, in March, officers arrested 20 of the 25 individuals indicted in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
Ever since the government stepped in to regulate pseudoephedrine, a drug ingredient used in the production of meth, much of the meth sold in Utah is now being brought in from Mexico. 11 of the 20 arrested individuals were being held in immigration detainment.
Investigators believe the drugs seized were most likely from Mexico, and perhaps some from other places. With the difficulty of obtaining pseudoephedrine for meth production, it seems that this meth-distribution ring had taken to transporting the drug from outside the state of Utah.
While the indictments came from a grand jury, in Utah, and the arrests were all within the state, this investigation had extended well beyond the state line. The Federal Investigative Bureau was working in concert with the Utah County Major Crimes Task Force and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, to take this drug ring down.
The charges against these individuals do not include the production of meth, but do include the conspiracy to distribute large quantities of the drug. This charge alone, when involving at least 500 grams of meth, can lead to life in prison, with a minimum charge of at least 10 years.
In Orem, an additional man was arrested during a traffic stop, found with one of the other suspects involved in the drug ring. Several phone calls had been recorded, involving this man, in which he discussed purchasing narcotics and selling cocaine. He is facing up to 4 years in prison for his charge of using a communication facility to conspire to sell cocaine.
All of these individuals will be processed through the court system, already overwhelmed with the flow of drug-related crimes, and given a sentence upon conviction. But, even with this small victory, in the fight to protect Utah from drug trafficking, this group is only a drop in the bucket. Investigators will ever continue to search for and bring to justice those involved in trafficking drugs in Utah.