CRIME

Specialized Team Arrests 387 Drug Dealers in Operation Rio Grande

Jan 7, 2019, 7:07 PM | Updated: 8:59 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Hundreds of drug dealers and more than 50 pounds of illegal drugs have been taken off the streets thanks to the efforts of a specialized team working to stop crime among Utah’s homeless population.

The new totals were released by a Utah State Bureau of Investigation taskforce assigned to Operation Rio Grande.

“From a criminal justice and a public safety standpoint, we would argue that it has been a very successful operation and it will continue to be as long as we are involved in it,” said Jared Garcia, a captain with the SBI.

Commenced in August of 2017, Operation Rio Grande is an ongoing, three-phase effort to stop the lawlessness around the downtown Salt Lake City homeless shelter and provide resources to Utah’s homeless population.

“You could walk in the area and you immediately knew that it wasn’t a safe place to be,” Garcia said of the Rio Grande neighborhood before the start of the operation.

The 11-member team focuses on the worst of the criminal element, Garcia said, using intelligence gathering to find the most violent offenders who prevent homeless residents from getting assistance from the shelter and nearby service providers.

“They prey on the homeless; they prey on our communities,” Garcia said. “They take advantage of all of you and all of us that are coming to work every day and trying to do the very best we can.”

From August 2017 until the end of 2018, Garcia said his team has arrested 484 people—including 387 drug dealers and 99 fugitives. Those arrests resulted in seven federal indictments.

The police work also included carrying out 43 search warrants, seizing 33 firearms and confiscating nearly $130,000 in cash. The team also recovered 27 stolen vehicles.

In terms of drugs removed from the streets, Garcia provided the following totals:

  • Heroin: 2,021 Grams/4.6 Pounds
  • Methamphetamine: 10,283 Grams/22.7 Pounds
  • Cocaine: 2,267 Grams/ 5 Pounds
  • Marijuana: 2, 948 Grams/6.5 Pounds
  • Spice: 1,197 Grams/2.6 Pounds

“If you go down there today, I think you’ll see and feel a much different environment,” Garcia said about the Rio Grande area. “You’ll see an environment that anybody would feel comfortable walking through.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Crime

police, crime, police tape...
Tina Burnside and Jarrod Wardwell, CNN

3 children dead after 911 caller said mother tried to stab them during a house fire in Georgia

Three children are dead and their mother is facing murder charges after allegedly trying to stab her children during a house fire in Georgia.
1 day ago
Officers respond to the scene after a vehicle fleeing police struck five people in Brooklyn, killin...
Andy Rose and Kiely Westhoff, CNN

Vehicle fleeing police kills a grandmother and injures 4 people, including an 8-year-old

A grandmother was killed and an 8-year-old boy was among four others injured when they were struck by a vehicle fleeing New York police Saturday night.
1 day ago
FILE - Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks with reporters following a closed-door...
LISA MASCARO AP Congressional Correspondent

As Senate-confirmed justices end Roe, how will voters react?

The end of Roe v. Wade started in the Senate. The Senate Republican partnership with President Donald Trump to confirm conservative justices paved the way for the Supreme Court's landmark ruling on abortion rights.
1 day ago
FILE (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for UNITAS)...
Associated Press

Off-duty officer charged with assault at abortion protest

A Rhode Island police officer accused of punching a woman at an abortion protest while off-duty has now been charged.
1 day ago
FILE...
Associated Press

Officer suspended for off-duty actions at abortion protest

A Rhode Island police officer has been suspended from his job with pay after allegedly punching a woman while off-duty.
2 days ago
A suspected land mine was removed from a Florida beach, according to police. (Credit: Indian River ...
Zoe Sottile, CNN

A suspected land mine was removed from a Florida beach

A suspected land mine was removed from a Florida beach, according to police.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Specialized Team Arrests 387 Drug Dealers in Operation Rio Grande