Provo and Utah County officers have uncovered a major drug-trafficking operation after a two-month investigation, said Provo Police Capt. George Pierpont.
Police were notified after a local transmission-repair shop found that a van it was working on had a false bottom filled with chemicals. The chemicals found could be used to aid in making controlled substances."As a result of that find we opened an investigation," Pierpont said. "The investigation revealed the chemical, if mixed correctly, would produce methamphetamines with a street value of $13.5 million."
Joel Frederick Hansen, 33, Vancouver, Wash., and Wendy Rae Svenson, 33, Portland, Ore., were charged with third-degree-felony drug-trafficking counts. Hansen is awaiting extradition to Washington to face other charges, and Svenson, through plea bargaining, waived a preliminary hearing and is awaiting sentencing in 4th District Court.
While the van was left at the shop, the couple rented a vehicle from a local company. They left the area, Pierpont said, and were gone for several days. Upon their return, the rental company notified police, who found the vehicle contained chemical residues. Police later found that several thousand dollars of the chemicals had been purchased from a Utah County company.