OGDEN -- It's been a very busy 48 hours for a Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force. The group made five busts, netting guns and hundreds of thousands of dollars in drugs.
It wasn't a planned series of busts. They all coincidentally happened within the 48 hours. Members of the strike force say they couldn't have done it without the help of other agencies.
They're all solid cases. I don't see any issue where we won't be able to get a conviction, said Lt. Darin Parke, commander of the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force.
In all, there were 11 arrests, five busts, seven guns recovered, and a lot of drugs.
This was very demanding on our unit, Parke said.
It started with this bust and a tip that marijuana was moving from Salt Lake to Ogden. After officers pulled over the minivan driven by a father and stepdaughter, they discovered 95 pounds of the drug inside.
Upon questioning, the suspects revealed that 13 additional pounds were in a West Valley home. It's total street value: $215,000.
A similar tip led to the arrest of two men and just over 4 ounces of meth. It was also being transported to Ogden from Salt Lake.
Salt Lake is the best known city in the state, and it's a distribution hub for drugs coming up to us, Parke said.
But the biggest bust involved heroin. After pulling a car over in Ogden, a police K-9 indicated the presence of drugs. Agents found 321 balloons of heroin and arrested two men.
Information from that case led law enforcement to a West Valley home and more than $365,000 of heroin. The task force also found a shrine to Jesus Malverde, who is thought of as the patron saint of drug dealers.
They will set up a shrine with a statuette to him in their home, place out offerings of food alcohol drugs money, and will pray to him to help protect their drug runs, Parke said.
While that case was happening, agents stopped Wade Taylor. He's a convicted felon and had guns and ammo in plain sight as investigators questioned him.
We recovered a total of seven firearms; five rifles and two shotguns, Parke said.
The cases are now being screened by prosecutors; some are going to the federal level.
June 3rd, 2010
By Sarah Dallof