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Press Release

Convicted Felon Indicted Following Large Salt Lake City Drug Bust

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Utah
15,000 fentanyl pills, approximately 45 pounds of meth, cash, and two firearms seized by SLCPD

Salt Lake City, Utah – A Utah convicted felon was indicted by a federal grand jury in Salt Lake City today for multiple federal crimes after Salt Lake City Police detectives allegedly seized approximately 45 pounds of methamphetamine, 15,000 fentanyl pills, and two firearms from his home and from a storage unit associated with him.

According to court documents, on May 9, 2024, Anthony Owen Pawley, 65, of Murray, Utah, was stopped for a traffic violation by detectives assigned to the Salt Lake City Police Department’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Team. During the traffic stop, a canine officer alerted to narcotics. While searching the vehicle, detectives found five pounds of suspected methamphetamine and several hundred blue pressed pills suspected to contain fentanyl. During the investigation, detectives also found approximately 40 pounds of field tested and confirmed methamphetamine and approximately 15,000 fentanyl pills, along with two firearms at his residence and at a storage unit in Murray associated with Pawley. 

Pictured: police dog in front of drugs, guns and cash seized

Pawley is charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of fentanyl with the intent to distribute, and felon in possession of a firearm. His initial court appearance on the indictment is scheduled for May 24, 2024, at 10:30 a.m. in courtroom 8.4 before a U.S. Magistrate Judge at the United States District Courthouse in downtown Salt Lake City. 

U.S. Attorney, Trina A. Higgins, of the District of Utah and the Salt Lake City Police Department made the announcement.

The case is being investigated by a Salt Lake City Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). 

Assistant United States Attorney Cameron P. Warner of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah is prosecuting the case. 

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

The Salt Lake City Police Department’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Team (VCAT) is a specialized unit within the department tasked with combating violent crime by identifying and apprehending violent criminals and fugitives. Operating under the SLCPD’s Special Operations Division, VCAT collaborates closely with the Investigations Division, patrol divisions, and Data and Research divisions to pinpoint and enforce targeted measures in hot spot areas and regions experiencing a surge in violent crime. Established to address emerging violent crime trends and the activities of repeat violent offenders in Salt Lake City, VCAT coordinates efforts with detectives, the Salt Lake Information Center (SLIC), and the SLCPD’s Crime Intelligence and Analysis Unit (CIAU) to identify and apprehend violent offenders.

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. 


Felicia Martinez
Public Affairs Specialist
(801) 325-3237
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Updated May 22, 2024

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Press Release Number: 24-57