LOCAL NEWS

South Salt Lake business part of massive alleged drug, money laundering operation

Jan 8, 2024, 10:50 PM | Updated: Jan 9, 2024, 5:55 am

SOUTH SALT LAKE — A small, unassuming strip mall business is accused of being at the center of a massive, multimillion-dollar money laundering operation linked to drug trafficking along the Wasatch Front.

The bust by the U.S. Attorney of Utah and partnering law enforcement agents led to the arrest of nearly a dozen people.

Employees who work in businesses in the 300 East strip mall, located on the corner of 300 E. 3300 South in South Salt Lake, explained that from their understanding, one of the now-shuttered storefronts was split into two businesses.

Sharing the same front door, the space appeared to be taken up by both a food establishment and Multiservicios Lokos. The snack bar, according to nearby employees and signs on the window, sold small food items like tortas, ice cream, fresh fruit and drinks.

According to the shared sign and window decals, the business Multiservicios Lokos also operated within the walls. Nearby employees say customers talked about being able to cash checks there and wire money, which are services advertised on the windows.

It’s that side, Multiservicios Lokos, that the Department of Justice believes the owner, Georgina Espinoza-Grajeda, and her employee, Jesid Dadiana De Sutter, used as a front to wire millions of dollars of drug money from Utah to suppliers in Honduras and Mexico.

“Espinoza and De Sutter laundered the money by falsifying wire transfer information to avoid detection,” explained a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah. “Multiservicios Lokos LLC was allegedly the laundering hub for multiple drug trafficking organizations.”

Money laundering operation lasted for nearly two years

They believe the two engaged in illegal wire transfers between January 2022 to November 2023. But in all, 24 defendants, including the business itself were named in the case. This led to 23 people being charged in a superseding indictment with 33 federal crimes. Those arrested live in cities across Salt Lake and Utah counties.
“Espinoza-Grajeda and De Sutter operated their money-remitting business and laundered millions of dollars in drug proceeds deposited by their co-defendants trafficking in fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine throughout the Wasatch Front,” the release stated.
It explained that through a collaborative law enforcement effort, “agents and officers seized 62,000 fentanyl pills, 24.5 pounds of heroin, 8.5 pounds of cocaine,” plus several guns and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash. 
“Agents and officers estimate the criminal organization laundered more than $20 million since January 2022,” the release said.

Employees working nearby were in disbelief learning about the alleged operations in what they saw as a small, quiet South Salt Lake storefront.

A sign taped to the door announces that it’s unlawful for the snack and food business to keep running in that location. 

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South Salt Lake business part of massive alleged drug, money laundering operation