FBI officers spearheaded one of the state's largest drug raids Friday afternoon in the Salt Lake area, slicing into what they termed Utah's Mexican connection and netting $5.6 million worth of drugs and nine arrests.
Officials said the nine arrested would be booked into Salt Lake County Jail Friday night in connection with the investigation of illegal importation and distribution of heroin and cocaine.They said Mexican traffickers were working in concert with two Salt Lake residents and an individual from Los Angeles.
Confiscated during the investigation, which officials said lasted several months, was 7.4 pounds of heroin valued at $3.9 million and 9.9 pounds of cocaine valued at $1.7 million.
FBI agents said Salt Lake residents were receiving the illegal drugs directly from residents of Mexico who, they believe, are growing the poppy, processing it into heroin and smuggling it into the United States.
In addition to the FBI, agencies joining in the raid under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force were the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Salt Lake City Police Department, Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office, U.S. Customs Service and the Utah State Bureau of Narcotics.
The investigation was initiated in October 1987 and targeted large-scale importation of heroin and cocaine from outside the United States to Salt Lake City.
Task force members said they seized and purchased high grade heroin during the investigation that has been tested at 70 percent pure. Cocaine previously obtained in the investigation tested at 96 percent pure.