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61 people face nearly 200 felony charges as police bust alleged Ogden drug ring

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Posted at 3:16 PM, Jan 15, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-15 17:28:54-05

OGDEN, Utah — An alleged drug smuggling operation run by a man police described as a high-ranking member of Ogden’s Trece, or O-13, gang has been broken up, and 61 people will face charges that total to include more than 180 felonies.

Police seized more than 15 pounds of methamphetamine, more than one pound of heroin, marijuana, cocaine and psilocybin mushrooms. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and assets were also seized.

According to a press release from the Ogden Police Department, authorities arrested 37-year-old Darren Lujan, an Arizona resident and former Ogden resident who allegedly facilitated the smuggling of hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine from Arizona to northern Utah.

Lujan allegedly used gang contacts to smuggle the drugs, and he delivered them to multiple accomplices for distribution. Police said multiple gangs were involved, with the Ogden Trece gang being the “predominant gang represented in leadership roles.” Lujan faces 21 felony counts of arranging to distribute a controlled substance and one count of continuing criminal enterprise.

The Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force worked with multiple agencies to identify nine people who were allegedly directly involved with the distribution or re-distribution of methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana.

The individuals were identified in the press release as: “Maria Sabala, her son Gabriel Juarez, James Villastrigo, Bobby Gilbert Martinez, Isaac Tirado, Craig Greene, Anthony Russell Gentile, Tiffany Kay Booth and Marquita Shantell Valdez.”

Police in Arizona arrested Lujan, the alleged leader, and he will face an extradition process. According to the press release, authorities seek to bring the man back to Weber County to face the charges filed against him.

Investigators have identified 61 people who will be facing more than 180 felony charges. Police are currently working to arrest those individuals, according to the press release issued Wednesday.

According to the press release, the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force made the arrests by working with the, “Ogden office of the F.B.I., Roy Police Department, South Ogden City Police Department, Ogden City Police Department, the Ogden Metro Gang Unit, the Phoenix Police Department, the Utah Highway Patrol, the Montana Division of Homeland Security and the Arizona office of the F.B.I.”

The arrests came after a team effort by the above agencies that took place over the course of about a year.

The nine arrested and named in the release face the following charges.

43-year-old Maria Sabala of Ogden faces “23 felony counts of arranging to distribute a controlled substance and 1 count of a Continuing Criminal Enterprise.”

Gabriel Juarez, 22, of Ogden faces “19 felony counts of arranging to distribute a controlled substance, 1 count of tampering with evidence, 1 count of a Continuing Criminal Enterprise.”

James Villastrigo, 39, of Ogden faces “5 felony counts of arranging to distribute a controlled substance, 1 count of a Continuing Criminal Enterprise.”

Bobby Gilbert Martinez, 36, of South Ogden “faces 10 felony counts of arranging to distribute a controlled substance, 1 count of a Continuing Criminal Enterprise.”

Isaac Tirado, 32, of Ogden faces “6 felony counts of arranging to distribute a controlled substance, 1 count of a Continuing Criminal Enterprise.”

Craig Greene, 33, of Weber and Davis counties faces “13 felony counts of arranging to distribute a controlled substance, 1 count of a Continuing Criminal Enterprise.”

Anthony Russel Gentile, 36, of Ogden faces “12 felony counts of arranging to distribute a controlled substance, 1 felony count of a Pattern of Unlawful Activity (RICO).”

Tiffany Kay Booth, 25, of Ogden faces “3 felony counts of arranging to distribute a controlled substance, 1 felony count of a Pattern of Unlawful Activity (RICO).”

Marquita Shantell Valdez, 29, faces “2 counts of arranging to distribute a controlled substance, 1 felony count of a Pattern of Unlawful Activity (RICO).”