Suspected Sinaloa Operatives Arrested in Utah

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The U.S. has announced the arrest of several members of the Sinaloa Cartel during an operation in Utah, including a number of suspected bosses of the Mexican drug cartel.

The operation was the culmination of an 18-month investigation, which has resulted in the arrest of 30 people across Utah, California and Nevada.

At least seven people were arrested as federal agents carried out raids at a house in the city of South Jordan, at a restaurant in Salt Lake City, and during a stop and search operation conducted by police along the Interstate 15 highway in southern Utah.

Over the course of the operation, U.S. authorities seized over 13 kilos of methamphetamine, 90 kilos of marijuana, one kilo each of heroin and cocaine, as well as $322,000 in cash and a number of guns.

Frank Smith, assistant special agent in charge of DEA Utah operations, told local newspaper the Salt Lake Tribune that the arrest of seven cartel members had put the Utah-based cell of the Sinaloa Cartel “out of business.”

Smith said he hoped the evidence gathered during the operation would lead to more arrests in Mexico.

The Sinaloa Cartel, one of the largest and most powerful drug trafficking organizations in the Western Hemisphere, has reportedly become the largest distributor of methamphetamine to the U.S., with the decline of the Familia Michoacana drug gang.

As InSight Crime has noted with previous Mexican gang busts in the U.S., there is a tendency for U.S. authorities to exaggerate the arrestees’ ties with the leadership of these groups.

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