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Press Release

Cruz Pleads Guilty To Possession Of Methamphetamine; Admits 73.8 Pounds Of Meth Were Destined For Distribution In Salt Lake City

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Utah

            SALT LAKE CITY – Travis Javier Cruz, age 38, of the Salt Lake City area, who traveled to California in October to pick up 73.8 pounds of methamphetamine from a supplier destined for distribution in Salt Lake City, pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute in U.S. District Court Wednesday morning.

            As a part of the plea agreement reached with federal prosecutors, Cruz admitted that he traveled to the Orange County area of California on Oct. 28, 2014, to pick up a large quantity of methamphetamine for distribution in the Salt Lake City area.  According to a complaint filed in the case, Cruz was already under surveillance by the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, in conjunction with the Salt Lake Unified Police Department, the Davis County Sheriff’s Office, and other law enforcement agencies prior to making the trip to California.

            Cruz arrived at a hotel in Huntington Beach, where the narcotics transaction would take place, with approximately $300,000 in cash to pay for 70 pounds of narcotics.  Cruz admitted meeting with a courier for the methamphetamine source of supply at the hotel on Oct. 28, 2014, and giving him $300,000.

            The next day, according to the plea agreement, the courier returned to the hotel with five or six five-gallon buckets.  He took the buckets into Cruz’s room.  The buckets contained the methamphetamine Cruz planned to distribute in the Salt Lake City area.  Cruz admitted that he and others packaged the methamphetamine into plastic wrap and mustard to transport it back to Salt Lake City.  The narcotics were placed in a roller bag and two backpacks and loaded into the trunk of the Cruz’s car for transportation back to Salt Lake City.

            Agents and officers, who had been conducting surveillance at the hotel, conducted a vehicle stop after the narcotics were loaded in the car.  A dog alerted to the presence of narcotics in the trunk of the vehicle.  Cruz admitted as a part of the plea agreement that the amount of narcotics recovered was approximately 73.8 pounds.

            On the same day, officers executed a federal search warrant at a storage unit in Salt Lake City and recovered approximately 1.5 pounds of methamphetamine. Cruz admitted it was his intent to distribute the methamphetamine in the Salt Lake City area.

            As a part of the plea agreement, Cruz agreed to forfeit vehicles and cash used to facilitate the criminal conduct.

            Sentencing is set for Aug. 4, 2014, in U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby’s courtroom.  Federal prosecutors agreed in the plea agreement to recommend that Cruz be sentenced at the mid-range level of the federal sentencing guidelines in the case, as determined by the court. He faces a 10-year minimum mandatory sentence in the case.

            Cruz was charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in November.

Updated May 20, 2015