TOOELE COUNTY, Utah — In the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, police and prosecutors in Utah are still dealing with what they call the epidemic of illegal drugs flooding our streets.
On Wednesday, federal and state law enforcement officers detailed one recent operation that was a success, while admitting it would only put a dent in the massive amount of illegal drugs rolling through Utah.
The operation took place along Interstate 80 in Tooele County from Aug. 9 through Aug. 12.
Utah Highway Patrol Troopers along with Agents from the State Bureau of Investigation conducted the three-day enforcement sting.
Troopers stopped several vehicles and ended up making 17 arrests and SBI Agents made a large haul of illegal property.
Among the items seized by SBI Agents:
- 2 handguns
- 556 pounds of unlawful cannabis
- 37 pounds of unlawful THC edibles
- 14 grams of unlawful THC resin
- 4.5 pounds of unlawful THC wax
- 320 unlawful THC vape cartridges
- 51 grams of MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly)
- 18 grams of psilocybin mushrooms
- An entire sheet of LSD tabs
- 14 grams of cocaine
Even with an impressive haul of illegal drugs and weapons, investigators admit it is it’s likely just a drop in the bucket compared to what is on our roads every single day.
“It’s the proverbial tip of an iceberg,' said U.S. Attorney for Utah John W. Huber.
The effort was supported by Huber who spoke to troopers and agents prior to the event kicking off.
The 17 suspects were arrested for the unlawful possession of the above seized items.
Huber is taking at least one of these cases federally. The case involves two people from California who were initially stopped for speeding but then were found to have more than 200 pounds of pot in their cargo carrier along with hundreds of illegal, THC Vape cartridges.
Huber commended the work of the troopers and agents-- not only for working the long, hot days along I-80 in the west desert on this operation – but for their year-round efforts.
Huber said every week UHP troopers without even trying are intercepting large loads of marijuana coming from California.
“A lot of it is destined to points east of Utah,” Huber said. “But so much of it is destined to Utah and our neighborhoods and our young people.”
He also warned that marijuana today is much more powerful than the pot smoked back in the days of Hippies, Flower Power and Woodstock.
“This is Marijuana that is not your grandfather's marijuana of the 60s and 70s,” Huber said. “This is a very different substance. THC content is very concentrated and then these commercially produced by-products, these edibles, these THC Vape cartridges, a very different form.”