SALT LAKE CITY – Twenty-one documented gang members and associates of several home-grown white supremacist gangs allegedly responsible for distributing drugs and firearms around the Salt Lake City and Ogden areas are charged in 15 indictments unsealed Friday morning in federal court.
The charges follow a strategic, intelligence-based Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation (OCDETF) of Soldiers of Aryan Culture (SAC) members, Silent Aryan Warriors (SAW) members, Noble Elect Thugs (NET) members, and associates. The joint local-federal investigation resulted in 15 unsealed indictments alleging distribution of methamphetamine, felon in possession of a firearm, and possession of a firearm during and in relation to a narcotics trafficking offense.
OCDETF is an independent component of the U.S. Department of Justice. Established in 1982, OCDETF employs strategies to reduce the availability of illicit narcotics throughout the United States using a prosecutor-led, multi-agency approach to take on complex investigations. OCDETF cases facilitate joint operations by focusing its partner agencies on priority targets, by managing and coordinating multi-agency efforts, and by leveraging intelligence across multiple investigative platforms.
Agencies assisting in the organized crime investigation include the ATF, U. S. Attorney’s Office, the Ogden Police Department, the Unified Police Department, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Salt Lake Area Metro Gang Unit, the Ogden Metro Gang Unit, the Weber Morgan Narcotics Strike Force, West Valley City Police Department, and the Utah Department of Public Safety’s State Bureau of Investigation.
The charges are the result of an investigation that started in June 2019 with the ATF and the two gang units joining together targeting drug and firearms trafficking activities throughout Salt Lake City, West Valley City, and Ogden City by SAC members. The investigation led law enforcement officers to numerous documented gang members and associates trafficking in methamphetamine and firearms. Many of the defendants have been involved in criminal conduct in Utah communities for many years. In two cases, this criminal history will allow federal prosecutors to seek a significant federal sentencing enhancement if they are convicted of the charges.
As a part of this proactive investigation, agents used a number of investigative techniques to learn about methamphetamine and firearms dealing by SAC members, SAW members, and associates. Ultimately, the targeted federal-state partnership resulting in numerous indictments of these individuals.
Around 1.65 pounds of methamphetamine were purchased during the investigation. Fifteen firearms were recovered during the investigation, including 10 during the investigation and 5 when arrest warrants were executed Wednesday.
21 DEFENDANTS CHARGED IN 15 SEPARATE INDICTMENTS
Single Defendant Cases
Prosecutors have filed a notice of a sentencing enhancement for defendants with * next to their names. This enhancement potentially doubles their statutory maximum sentence, or where applicable, their mandatory minimum sentence.
Eleven defendants were arrested Wednesday. Another 10 were already in custody. Defendants in the cases will make initial appearances on the indictments in the coming weeks. Several are in state custody on other state criminal charges.
Indictments are not findings of guilt. Individuals charged in indictments are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in court.