24 Defendants, including a Utah Business Owner, Accused of Running a Drug and Money Laundering Operation from Utah to Mexico and Honduras
SALT LAKE CITY – The lead defendant in a methamphetamine trafficking ring responsible for distributing more than 99 pounds of methamphetamine in Utah, Idaho, and other locations, will spend 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
According to documents filed in court, Tiffany Scott Spevak, age 39, of Salt Lake City, agreed that she conspired with others from about January 2014 through October 2016, to procure methamphetamine in Arizona and California and distribute it to customers in Utah, Idaho, and other locations.
She admitted that more than 99 pounds of methamphetamine were distributed during the conspiracy period. Spevak admitted that she directed other individuals to get the methamphetamine and to distribute it during conspiracy period. Investigators involved in the case estimate that the group distributed between 250-500 pounds of methamphetamine.
She also admitted that those involved in the conspiracy engaged in financial transactions, knowing the property involved in the financial transactions represented proceeds of unlawful activity – distribution of methamphetamine in this case – with the intent to continue the unlawful activity.
Acting on information provided by an individual arrested in Washington, special agents with U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations interviewed Spevak at her home in January 2016. Agents found $37,000 in case during a search of her residence. A narcotics K-9 alerted on items in the home. Agents found postal express mail envelopes and a small roll of green shrink wrap in a closet. Spevak initially told them the materials were from 2012 and were used by her significant other, Hugo Tapia-Mendoza, who is currently incarcerated in another federal drug case. During a later interview, Spevak told agents that after Tapia was arrested, she began to contact individuals who worked for Tapia who connected her with individuals who sold her methamphetamine.
Cases are pending for four other defendants in the case. Carlos Rafael Cota-Escalante, age 53, of Phoenix, Arizona, is charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and conspiracy to commit money laundering in the indictment. He is in custody. Stephen Scott Spevak, 62, of Idaho, is charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and three counts of money laundering. He is on pretrial release. An arrest warrant is pending for Carlos Rafael Cota-Llanes, age 31, of Phoenix, who is charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Shanna Walter, age 42, of Salt Lake County, is charged with money laundering and is on pretrial release. (Stephen Scott Spevak is Tiffany Scott Spevak’s father.)
In a related case in Idaho, Ryan Dalley of Pocatello, Idaho, who worked with Tiffany Spevak to get methamphetamine in Los Angeles and Phoenix for distribution in Idaho and Montana, was sentenced to 17 years in federal prison in September. At sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill noted he has presided over a significant share of the drug sentencings in federal court in Pocatello in the past 24 years, and he believed Dalley’s drug trafficking organization is “one of, if not the largest, drug trafficking operation in Eastern Idaho.”
Federal prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Utah are prosecuting the case. Special agents of the DEA, IRS-Criminal Investigation, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations are investigating the case along with the Idaho State Police.