DEA seizes 41 pounds of meth, leaves drug trafficking group 'decimated'

Published: Monday, Feb. 25 2013 8:23 p.m. MST

DEA assistant agent in charge Frank Smith.

Matt Powers, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — A major meth bust Monday in a Salt Lake City parking lot represented just a fraction of the drugs seized on the way to Utah.

Frank Smith, Drug Enforcement Administration agent, said the 41 pounds of methamphetamine intercepted near 1300 South and 300 West add to the more than 300 pounds seized in a yearlong investigation.

Three people were arrested in Monday's bust, though their names were not released Monday. One individual is still at large, Smith said. In all, more than 30 people have been arrested throughout the investigation.

Agents had been preparing to bust the exchange for several months, negotiating a price of $450,000 and surrounding the suspected seller's vehicle when he arrived, Smith said. On the street, the 41 pounds of meth would have sold for millions, he said.

The drugs trace back to a specific trafficking group with ties in Los Angeles, and all of Monday's bust was headed for Utah, Smith said.

"All of this dope was destined for us," he said. "The people of Utah can sleep better tonight because we have closed at least the floodgates. … We have decimated the cell that is controlling Utah."

Smith said the arrests took strategic people in Utah's drug trade out of play, and the DEA is nearing the end of its investigation.

The flat packets of meth seized Monday were likely smuggled across the Mexican border in car panels, Smith said. The drugs intercepted by DEA agents in Salt Lake City had been sewn into suitcase panels.

McKenzie Romero

Twitter: McKenzieRomero

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