Man wanted for murder in Mexico arrested in SLC during drug bust

Local News

OGDEN/ SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News)- A man wanted for murder in Mexico was arrested and during a drug bust investigation, court documents state.

Mario Gomez-Cuevas, 23, was deported in January 2017, but was taken into custody on Oct. 30th. during a traffic stop in Salt Lake City.

At the time, officers were tracking the driver of the car he was in with knowledge that he was involved in a drug operation. 

According to a complaint signed by a federal magistrate judge this week, officials with the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force and The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) started tracking the driver, 32-year-old Fabian Barriga-Mendez after a joint operation in Ogden.

On Oct. 23 agents purchased meth at an Ogden business during a controlled investigation. During that time Barriga-Mendez texted the suspect they were investigating regarding a large amount of money.

During their investigation agents learned Barriga-Mendez has been distributing meth in the Salt Lake area, the complaint stated. There was also an active arrest warrant for him. According to the complaint, he is associated with a federal narcotics investigation in Colorado.

On Oct. 30th Barriga-Mendez and Gomez-Cuevas were pulled over in Salt Lake City for a traffic violation.

“[They both] provided Mexican identification documents – which law enforcement officers making the stop believed to be fraudulent,” officials said. Officers on scene used a digital scanner to take fingerprints and identify them.

The men were arrested after a K9 officer indicated a presence of drugs and officers searched the car.

Inside officers say they say they found 2.33 pounds of meth.

Barriga-Mendez admitted to transporting the meth from Colorado to Utah, officials said.

He is charged in a criminal complaint with one count of possession of a controlled substance (meth) with intent to distribute.  He faces up to life in prison if convicted of the charge with a 10-year minimum mandatory.  

Gomez-Cuevas, age 23, is charged in a criminal complaint with re-entry of a previously removed alien. 

He was previously deported in January 2017. 

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