SALT LAKE CITY – Law enforcement in Salt Lake City said Friday they have arrested 12 people in connection with an investigation into "GlenMob," a music group they say serves as a front for narcotics distribution.
US Attorney for the District of Utah John Huber announced the findings of the investigation at a press conference Friday.
Huber was joined by the FBI, ATF, and local and state level law enforcement.
Charging documents indicate that the FBI in Salt Lake City began investigating a substantial rise in violent street crime in Salt Lake County in 2017.
Authorities began investigating several violent street gangs and learned that many of the gang members were also associated with a music group named “GlenMob”, which posts rap music videos on YouTube. Police say in those videos the group appears as a “violent street gang.”
“They use this purported front of music videos and music activities,” Huber said.
Authorities began gathering intelligence and suspected GlenMob was a front for narcotics distribution.
Police from several agencies coordinated to identify and monitor members of the conspiracy using surveillance of phone and social media records as well as controlled purchases of large amounts of methamphetamine.
Police also located a “stash house” at an undisclosed location in Salt Lake City. Police seized five pounds of methamphetamine at a storage unit in Magna. In another instance police arranged a controlled purchase of methamphetamine and a firearm.
“This is a big deal,” Huber said. “This took multiple agencies, multiple officers and agents of those agencies.”
Authorities say their surveillance revealed that Daniel Silva, aka "D Mack", and Abraham Sanchez are the leaders and organizers of the alleged drug trafficking organization.
An unsealed charging document lists several defendants, all of whom face one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Huber said that charge is a "temporary holding charge" and that a grand jury will determine formal charges.
Huber said this operation represents the "best of the best" in police work.
"We will not sit back and wait... We're taking the game to the violent criminals, and they will lose that game," Huber said.
He said violent crime in Utah rose by 18 percent in 2016 and this bust should send a message to other gang members in the area.
“If other gangs that are in operation don’t get the message, it is their own fault,” Huber told Fox 13.
Those listed on the document are: Daniel Silva, Abraham Sanchez, Angel Rivera, Sipriano Molina, Cameron Lucas, Melissa Kelly, Kenneth Reyos, Dominic Trujillo, David Miramontes, Nick Vigil, Jesus Alvarado, Salvador Tafolla, Juan Noriega, Tranqulino Reyos and Fabian Uriel Tapia-Bustamante.
Twelve have been arrested so far, but police say they are still working to arrest Daniel Silva, Sipriano Molina and Fabian Uriel Tapia-Bustamante. Police provided an old booking photo for Silva.
“We hope those persons and their family members will arrange for their peaceful surrender,” Huber said.