"CARTELS AND COMBINATIONS," by Mike McPheters, Bonneville Books, Cedar Fort Inc., $16.99, 236 pages

SALT LAKE CITY — Mike McPheters pulls no punches.

The title of his latest book — "Cartels and Combinations" — is no coincidence.

Former Mormon bishop and FBI agent McPheters believes the drug cartels and organized crime that goes with them are the secret combinations warned of in the Book of Mormon, the sacred text that is the bedrock scripture for 14 million members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

"Oh yes! It's absolutely what I'm talking about. In one particular chapter, I bring the Sunday School lessons in. I flesh out how those combinations could've been passed down from ancient times. This is fiction, but it shows how it could've happened and does happen," said McPheters, who lives in Moses Lake, Wash.

McPheters is in the Salt Lake area for book signings and appearances.

His first book told the stories of crimes solved and investigations explored while he was a special agent for the FBI.

"Agent Bishop" sold more than 45,000 copies.

"Cartels and Combinations" is already leaping out ahead of "Agent Bishop," McPheters said, despite the fact it's only been on the market since the end of October.

It's a story based on McPheter's years of experience investigating drug lords and crime.

He weaves reality into the fictional story of a young woman whose family becomes entangled in the drug world after her brother is brutally murdered.

"I've been doing research my whole life basically," he said. "I use intelligence reports, my own experience, the Internet."

McPheters is anxious to get information out about the drug world and the danger it represents to today's society.

"I want to warn people and yet give people something they enjoy reading," he said.

He includes Mormonism as his characters struggle and overcome their challenges.

"I show that people can change. It's really interesting to see how people turn around, and I bring to light the terrible effects of prejudice," he said. "It's kind of a warning."

McPheters is not happy with the present effort to curtail drug traffic from Mexico into the United States and uses the pages of his book to take the current administration to task.

"As long as the border is porous, nothing will change," he said. He suggested building a much better fence between the two countries, one that goes down as well as up.

4 comments on this story

"We need to prevent the tunnels they build. They have tunnels you can drive a truck through," he said. "My greatest concern is our southern border."

McPheters said the first order of business is to shut down the border then figure out how to care for illegal immigrants in America.

After the border is secured, American officials can focus on immigrant rights and responsibilities, he said.

The book is available on Amazon.com, at Utah Costco stores, Barnes & Noble bookstores, Deseret Book and Seagull outlets.

He said his next book will deal with an Al-Qaeda attack.

e-mail: haddoc@desnews.com