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14 indicted in drug trafficking ring

Published: Friday, April 4 2014 4:25 p.m. MDT

Jordan Allred, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — Thirteen people were arrested in Utah this week and one was still outstanding as part of a federal methamphetamine and heroin distribution investigation.

On Wednesday and Thursday, federal prosecutors unsealed two indictments, and law enforcers from the FBI, Salt Lake City, West Valley City, Sandy, Unified police, the Department of Public Safety and others executed arrest and search warrants in Salt Lake, Sevier and Washington counties, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The indictments allege that members of the La Raza gang and their associates operated a drug enterprise. Thirteen of the suspected 14 people tied to the operation had been rounded up and arrested as of Friday.

A 31-count indictment that included money laundering as well as meth and heroin distribution was handed down against Wayne Leroy Burr, 30, aka Micilo, of Draper; Samuel Covarrubias-Velazquez, 36, aka Pollo, of West Valley City; and 11 others. Burr and Covarrubias-Velazquez are the alleged leaders of the operation. A second indictment that included a single count of meth distribution was filed against two others.

"Gang involvement in the retail drug trade poses a risk to communities because distribution activities are routinely associated with violence as disputes over control of drug territory and enforcement of drug debts occurs," the U.S. Attorney's Office wrote in a prepared statement.

Four of the drug trafficking charges carry potential 40-year prison sentences for each charge. Twenty-one of the drug trafficking charges, as well as six money laundering counts, carry minimum 10-year sentences.

In addition to the arrests, law enforcers also seized 10 pounds of methamphetamine and heroin, seven firearms, eight vehicles and approximately $175,000 in cash.

In 2004, Burr was named Public Enemy No. 1 by the Salt Lake Metro Gang Unit for allegedly shooting a man in the leg at a party in Midvale after the man allegedly refused to apologize for an uknown reason.

Most recently, he was convicted of aggravated assault in 2012, according to court records.

Email: preavy@deseretnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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