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Press Release

Six Indicted in Importation and Distribution Of MDMA Drug Case

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Utah
Charges Allege MDMA was Imported into the United States and Distributed in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY – Six members of a Utah County based drug distribution ring allegedly responsible for distributing large amounts of the drug 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, commonly known as MDMA or Ecstasy, are now facing federal charges in a superseding indictment unsealed in federal court on Thursday.

The charges in the indictment include conspiracy to distribute MDMA, two counts of possession of MDMA with intent to distribute, and three counts of aiding and abetting the importation of MDMA.

According to a complaint filed in the case, the investigation into the defendants’ importation of MDMA began in February of 2021, when an international mail shipment was seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the port of Cincinnati DHL Hub. The seized package was manifested to CBP as containing a hair dryer with a claimed value of $36.00 and a claimed weight of two kilograms. Upon further inspection, it was revealed that the package contained vacuum sealed plastic bags containing 2.1 kilograms of gray pills pressed with skulls and the words “Reaper 350 mg” on the back. CBP agents tested the gray pills with a field test kit, which presumptively identified the gray pills as containing MDMA, a schedule I controlled substance. The package was then delivered to its intended recipient in Vineyard, Utah, by Special Agents from Homeland Security Investigations, who began the investigation into the MDMA distribution scheme in Utah. A search warrant was later executed for another residence in Vineyard that yielded 23 pounds of MDMA. After the execution of the search warrant, a package like the first was seized by CBP in Cincinnati. This packaged was destined for another address connected to the distribution ring in Salt Lake City and contained 2.3 kilograms of gray pills that also field tested positive for MDMA.

Charged in the indictment are Bryan Hernandez, 25, of Vineyard; Cindy Hurtado, 23, of Vineyard; Rodrigo Padilla, 23, of Salt Lake City; Roberto Reyes, 28, of Vineyard; Michael Ortiz, 25, of Salt Lake City; Junior Morales, 29, of Salt Lake City; and Larry Durrer, 26, of West Valley City. 

Assistant U.S. Attorneys from the Utah U.S. Attorney’s Office and Special Assistant United States Attorneys from the Department of Homeland Security are prosecuting the case. Special Agents from Homeland Security Investigations, the Utah State Bureau of Investigations, and Inspectors from the United States Postal Inspection Service conducted the investigation.

Indictments are not findings of guilt.  Defendants charged in indictments are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in court.

Updated May 20, 2021

Topic
Drug Trafficking
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