Federal Officials Announce Drug Charges In Several Utah Cases
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Federal officials announced charges in several drug cases Thursday, saying drugs are flowing into Utah from Mexico.
“They are feeding Utah with massive amounts of heroin, meth, and fentanyl,” said Drug Enforcement Administration agent Brian Besser.
United States Attorney for the state of Utah John Huber said Utah has become an attractive area for drug traffickers because so many people here are addicted to opioids, and Utah’s remote stretches of highway make it easy for traffickers to quickly move a lot of drugs.
“Waiting in line are profiteers. Some of those are Utahns. Many of those come from Mexico and Honduras to exploit our addictions for their profit,” Huber said.
Huber said many of the people charged in the cases were in the United States illegally from Mexico or Honduras. Several, he said, had been deported previously. One man, he said, had been deported seven times before his most recent arrest.
“He found his way back to Utah or to the United States seven times. That’s a huge problem. There’s a debate that I don’t get involved in about the porous nature of our southwestern border. These cases today that I’m highlighting showcase that challenge,” Huber said.
The promise of a big payday, Huber said, can be a strong motivator.
“Those ten pounds of heroin translate to a million dollars street value retail. Extraordinary cash incentives for these criminal aliens and local people to take advantage of us,” Huber said.
Officials who spoke at a Thursday news conference said they hope efforts like these can help to curb overdose deaths that have been rising across the United States in the past few years. Huber said his office, the DEA, the U.S. Marshals Service, ICE, and local agencies have worked together on the investigations, some of which went on for a year-and-a-half.
“It’s not always like this in other parts of the country, but in Utah, we’re very good at cooperating and coordinating. Wherever we are on a political spectrum, wherever we are as far as who we answer to in the city councils or the county commissions, we’re very good at cooperating against the bad guys,” he said.
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