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2 arrested after raid on suspected Duchesne County drug house

Published: Thursday, Oct. 3 2013 12:45 p.m. MDT

Investigators served a federal search warrant Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, on a suspected drug house located on tribal land in Arcadia, Duchesne County. Two people were taken into custody during the raid, which involved FBI agents, Bureau of Indian Affairs police officers and members of the Uintah Basin Narcotics Strike Force.

Geoff Liesik, Deseret News

ARCADIA, Duchesne County — Two people were arrested Thursday after federal and local law enforcement agencies served a search warrant on a suspected drug house on Ute tribal land in Duchesne County.

FBI agents, Bureau of Indian Affairs police officers and members of the Uintah Basin Narcotics Strike Force met no resistance when they descended on a dilapidated house at 6450 S. 12000 West about 6:30 a.m.

Ferron Wyasket, 55, and his wife, 54-year-old Jolene Wyasket, were taken into custody and later transported by BIA officers to the Duchesne County Jail for booking. Both are members of the Ute Indian Tribe and are expected to face charges in tribal court and federal court.

During a monthslong investigation, authorities say they developed information that the Wyaskets were dealing methamphetamine out of their house.

Local investigators say they've long suspected the couple was involved in the drug trade, but federal court rulings bar them from investigating tribal members accused of committing crimes on tribal land.

"Under the current circumstances, the FBI took the lead," said Vernal Police Lt. Keith Campbell, who added that county and municipal officers were not excluded from the investigation.

"There are local officers that are cross-deputized to the Joint Terrorism Task Force to work with the FBI," said Campbell, who is a cross-deputized member of the task force.

Investigators spent more than five hours Thursday searching the Wyaskets' house and the surrounding property. They appeared to be writing down identifying information about all of the vehicles parked around the house and could be seen going in and out of a covered storage area on the property.

Authorities also recovered nearly two dozen firearms from the house, which was so filthy that several officers were seen donning masks before going inside.

FBI spokeswoman Patsy Speelman said she was unable to answer any questions about the raid due to the federal government shutdown.

Campbell, however, said the cooperative effort that led to the Wyaskets' arrests should send a clear message to lawbreakers who think they are untouchable because they're operating on tribal lands.

"Right and wrong should be the same, no matter where you go," he said. "All agencies will work together so we can deal with criminal activity."

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