News Release
January 24, 2008
Contact: GS Michael Root
Number: 801-524-5031

Seizure Of 13.5 Pounds Of Cocaine In Salina, Utah Part Of A Multi-State Drug Trafficking Organization
7 Arrest, 13.5 Pounds of Cocaine, 2 Weapons, 2 Vehicles , and Cash Seized

JAN 24 -- (Denver, CO) - Jeffrey D. Sweetin, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Rocky Mountain Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), announced today the arrest of seven individuals from the St. George, Utah area in connection with the seizure of more than 13.5 pounds of cocaine that was seized near Salina, Utah on January 23, 2007. The seizure and arrests were part of a multi-state drug trafficking organization that was shipping cocaine and methamphetamine from California to Utah, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky. The eight-month investigation began when the DEA Office in Indiana received information from a concerned citizen.

DEA Agents in St. George, along with the Washington County Drug Task Force made undercover buys, conducted hundreds of hours of surveillance, and used other investigative techniques to dismantle this organization. The investigation was to conclude on early Thursday Morning with the service of numerous search warrants in Indiana, Utah and Illinois, however when agents in Utah observed the suspects loading up a load of suspected cocaine on Wednesday, they took action. Agents followed the vehicle and suspects to Salina, Utah where the load was intercepted by the Utah Highway Patrol and arrested two individuals.

Late Wednesday, Agents subsequently served four search warrants and four arrest warrants in the St. George, Utah area which resulted in the seizure of additional cocaine, two handguns, two cars and U.S. Currency. Approximately 30 more arrests were made simultaneously in Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois.

Those arrested in Utah include: Maria Avalos, Zoyla Garcia, Anna Gonzalez, Rosalio Cruz, Manuel Moreno, Timothy Morris, Victor Duran.

Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey D. Sweetin stated “the take down of this multi-state drug trafficking organization demonstrates what can be accomplished when state, local and federal agencies combine their resources”. “This organization had a significant negative impact on the quality of life in this area. When convicted, those responsible will face lengthy mandatory federal sentences for their criminal activity.”

The defendants are facing federal drug trafficking charges in Utah and Indiana.

Agencies that participated in this investigation include the DEA, Washington County Drug Task Force, Utah Highway Patrol, St. George Police Department, and the Washington County Sheriff’s Department.