Multi-agency operation leads to 21 indictments in Utah drug ring

Posted at 3:06 PM, May 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-13 19:48:10-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A 10-month investigation involving multiple local, state and federal agencies led to the indictment of 21 people involved in a Utah drug trafficking ring.

Those indicted now face 32 counts of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, or fentanyl along the Wasatch Front, according to U.S. Attorney for Utah Andrea T. Martinez.

"We do not tolerate drugs in our society, we don't want them here," said Martinez.

During the operation, officials seized the following drugs that had come out of Mexico:

  • More than 27 pounds of methamphetamine
  • Four pounds of fentanyl
  • Two pounds of heroin
  • 22 pounds of cocaine

The FBI said Thursday that the street value of the drugs is over $1.6 million. Authorities also seized more than $415,000 in cash and multiple firearms during the operation.

"An organization such as this, with these significant amounts, volumes of illegal narcotics, does translate to your next door neighbor, the person at the local store; anyone can be affected or anyone's close associate even though you might not see it every day, it is 25,000 doses of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and fentanyl," said Jonathan Tapp, Supervisory Special Agent with the FBI.

According to the indictment unsealed Thursday, the joint Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force monitored the group trafficking in illegal drugs from mid-July 2020 through May 4, 2021.

"When you're dealing with organized crime groups, specifically drug trafficking organizations, these individuals deal in large amounts of money," said Tapp. "In this case, approximately $415,000 seized and the large amounts of the value of the narcotics and these people are typically armed, so there's always an inherent danger."

The following individuals were indicted:

  • Melvin Bladimir Andrade, aka “The Trucker,” 32, of Roy
  • Jesus Antonio Hernandez Guerrero, aka “Tonio,” 35, of North Ogden
  • Francisco Javier Quezada Aguirre, aka “el Negro” aka “Poncho,” 27, of Mexico
  • Pedro Ignacio Mendoza Ibarra, 28, of Mexico
  • Hector Ramses Blasco Cota, aka “Winnie,” 25, of Salt Lake City
  • Jose Luis Hernandez, aka “Chepe,” 60, of Ogden
  • Troy Rivera, aka “Vecino” aka “Gonzo,” 48, of Farr West
  • Hector Holguin Barrios, aka “Viejo,” 57, of Midvale
  • Hugo Morales Chavero, 30, of Salt Lake City
  • Victor Noe Martinez Portillo, 31, of West Jordan
  • Josiel Rogelio Morales Lopez, 21, of Lehi
  • Isaac Celaya Almanza, aka “Chupa” aka “Flaco,” 50, of Ogden
  • Victor Guzman, “Chiste,” 46, of Ogden
  • Erick Garcia Rivera, 40, of West Valley City
  • Mario Moreno, 40, of Ogden
  • Rubi Rosario Almenta Sanchez, 33, of Westminster, California
  • Edwin Alberto Espino Alfaro, aka “Gordito,” 33, of Ogden
  • Juan Carlos Rosas Rosas, 37, of Ogden
  • Carlos Enrique Canos Gutierrez, aka “Kike,” 26, of West Valley City
  • Marissa Perez, 22, of Torrance, California
  • Andrea Islas, 24 of, Salt Lake City