SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – It was a promise to bad guys Utah’s federal prosecutors made last March.
“We will find you and we will use every tool available under the law to hold you accountable to find you,” said John Huber.
Friday, he again repeated that warning to criminals engaging in drug distribution.
A joint operation between the DEA, FBI and several police departments resulted in the indictments involving 24 people.
The are now facing charges of selling methamphetamine mainly in Salt Lake county. The bust also netted 17 firearms.
“That common source was a person in California where these pounds and pounds of drugs came from and he is a listed defendant at the top of the conspiracy,” said Huber.
Raul Enrique Lizarraga Lopez is currently under arrest in California and will be extradited to Utah to face charges. According to federal prosecutors, if he’s convicted the alleged kingpin faces a mandatory 10-years to life in prison.
Also indicted were:
-Silvio Mckenzie-Gainza; 35, Salt Lake City.
-Cesar Gutierrez; 37, Magna.
-Melissa Delgado; 21, Murray.
-Ciro Santamaria-Zepeda; 35, Salt Lake City.
-Makasini Lomu; 50, West Valley.
-Siosifina Ositamani; 41, Salt Lake City.
-Sompheth Thaodara; 48, West Valley.
-Michael Shane Tisdale; 54, West Valley.
-David Tyson Madden; 40, Salt Lake City.
-Man Tat Le; 42, West Valley.
-Gary Bronson Dean; 32, Salt Lake City.
-Timote Gangupo; 36, West Jordan.
-Mario Cerna; 34, West Valley.
-Morgan Harris; 58, Murray.
-Brandon Callaway; 29, Salt Lake City.
-Cerina Gutierrez; 45, Salt Lake City.
-Jon Martinez; 46, Salt Lake City.
-Greg Montoya; 43, Salt Lake City.
-Jake Duran; 25, Salt Lake City.
-Jeremy Najera; 33, Salt Lake City.
-Justin Dahlquist; 26, Salt Lake City.
-Linda Sosa; 39, Kearns.
-Steven Trujillo; 24, Tooele.
The FBI and DEA merged their investigations after realizing they were after the same suspects.
What impact the arrests will have on the streets remains unknown.
“We do our best to take the head of a drug ring off but they often have surrogates, they have associates,” said Brian Besser, DEA Agent In Charge. “They have other members so it’s very hard to say.”
But law enforcement says meth users are prone to violence and can endanger the public even more than opiod users.
“Methamphetamine is an extremely volitile psychoactive stimulant,” said Besser. “It is very scary to me.”
Before closing, the federal prosecutor issued another promise to those peddling drugs.
“Be wise in your decisions because you’re next,” said Huber.