A political aspirant who was among the 37 people charged following a narcotics and theft investigation says he is the victim of a "political hatchet job."
Louis Arnold, a candidate for the Duchesne County Commission, was arraigned Thursday in 7th Circuit Court on a charge of receiving-disposing of stolen property. Arnold is accused of selling a pistol to an undercover officer, Duchesne County Sheriff Clair Poulson said.
Arnold posted $10,000 bail and was released pending further proceedings, the sheriff said.
"I've owned that pistol for more than 10 years, and I've still got a bill of sale on it," Arnold said. "It's a clean gun."
The Myton resident is one of three Democrats running for the four-year County Commission post. Five Republicans also are seeking the office.
Poulsen said the pistol was represented to the undercover agent as having been stolen. Arnold denies telling the agent the pistol was stolen.
The arrests Wednesday followed an eight-month investigation by the Duchesne County sheriff's office and the Utah Organized Crime and Criminal Information Bureau.
Names of 25 persons arrested were released Thursday and the other dozen still were being sought, Poulson said.
The arrests were believed to be the most massive strike against organized crime in eastern Utah history, the sheriff's office said.
Poulson said many of the arrests stemmed from thefts of oil field equipment and drill bits worth more than $100,000.