You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Utah

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 16, 2020

Members, Associates Of White Supremacist Gangs Charged In Methamphetamine And Firearms Trafficking Cases

Charges Follow Coordinated Strategic, Intelligence-Based Investigation

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

Multi-Defendant Cases

  •  Steven Mack Swena, Clinton Dean Spencer
    • Distribution of 5 grams or more of methamphetamine
      • Maximum penalty: 5 years mandatory minimum, 40 years statutory maximum, $5 million fine
    • Distribution of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine
      • Maximum penalty: 10 years mandatory minimum, Life maximum, $10 million fine
    • Felon in Possession of Firearm
      • Maximum penalty: 10 years statutory maximum, $250,000 fine
  •  Richard Ryan, Amanda Lee Graham, Jared Loren Brown, Thomas Radford
    • Distribution of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine (mixture) and aiding/abetting
      • Maximum penalty: 5 years mandatory minimum, 40 years statutory maximum, $5 million fine
  • Justin William Austin, Cody Kelly Wright, Jerrad Luis Colvin
    • Distribution of 5 grams or more of methamphetamine (3 counts)
      • Maximum penalty: 5 years mandatory minimum, 40 years statutory maximum, $5 million fine
    • Distribution of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine
      • Maximum penalty: 10 year mandatory minimum, life statutory maximum, $10 million fine
    • Distribution of heroin (Austin)
      • Maximum penalty: Up to 20 years in prison, $1 million fine
      • Carry/use of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime (Austin)Maximum penalty: 5 years mandatory minimum up to life statutory maximum, $250,000 fine
    • Felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition (Austin)
      • Maximum penalty: Up to 10 years statutory maximum, $250,000 fine

 

Single Defendant Cases

  • James William Broadhead
    • 2 counts of Distribution of methamphetamine
      • Maximum Penalty: 20 years statutory maximum, $1 million fine
    • 2 counts of Possession of Firearm In Furtherance of Narcotics Trafficking
      • Maximum Penalty: 5 years consecutive sentence, Life maximum
    • 3 counts of Felon in Possession of Firearm and Ammunition
      • Maximum Penalty: 10 years statutory maximum, $250,000 fine
  • Johnathan Dale Miller
    • Distribution of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine
      • Maximum penalty: 10 years mandatory minimum, Life maximum, $10 million fine
    • Distribution of 5 grams or more of methamphetamine
      • Maximum penalty: 5 years mandatory minimum, 40 years statutory maximum, $5 million fine 
  • Brian Christopher Jenson
    • Distribution of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine
      • Maximum penalty: 10 years mandatory minimum, Life maximum, $10 million fine
  • Timothy Cox*
  • Heather Brooke Hebdon
  • Jesse Harris
  • Bret Miller
    • Distribution of 5 grams or more of methamphetamine
      • Maximum penalty: 5 years mandatory minimum, 40 years statutory maximum, $5 million fine
  • Michael Byrd
  • Timothy Daniel Jepsen*
    • Distribution of Methamphetamine
      • Maximum penalty: 20 years statutory maximum, $1 million fine
  • Tyler William Riding
  • Jordan Anderson
  • Chance Robinson
    • Felon in Possession of Firearm and Ammunition
      • Maximum Penalty: 10 years statutory maximum, $250,000 fine

 

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.

Topic(s): 
Project Guardian
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Updated October 16, 2020