SALT LAKE CITY — Canadian authorities say after a yearlong investigation, an organized crime group responsible for drugs and a double homicide has been dismantled.
The big breakthrough in the case started with a record-breaking methamphetamine bust in Utah in 2016.
In October 2016, Utah Highway Patrol troopers, with assistance from Drug Enforcement Administration offices in Salt Lake City and Los Angeles, made a traffic stop near Springville and seized more than 230 pounds of methamphetamine with an estimated wholesale value of $1.5 million.
At the time, it was the biggest meth bust in Utah history.
Brennan Carter Tutt, 25, of Airdrie, Alberta; Kyle Carlson Taylor, 20, of Calgary, Alberta; and Santiago Caicedo-Ramirez, 21, of Calgary, Alberta, were charged in federal court with meth possession with intent to distribute.
Those three men were suspected of being couriers for a Calgary-based organized crime group involved in the shipping of drugs back and forth from Alberta, British Columbia and the United States, according to a prepared statement from ALERT, a group of law enforcement agencies funded by the Alberta government.
The Utah bust prompted a larger investigation in Canada, dubbed Project Arbour. Authorities in Canada, along with the DEA, believe the Calgary group was pressing fentanyl, steroids and other pills, according to the statement. In addition, due to the investigation, a double homicide in Calgary was linked to a member of the organization, according to law enforcement group.
At least five people have been arrested and are facing a total of 46 charges in Canada, the statement says.
In Utah, Tutt and Caicedo-Ramirez each took plea deals and were sentenced to time served and were deported, according to court records. Taylor, who is expected to get a similar deal, is set to be sentenced March 19.2 comments on this story
State Bureau of Investigations Capt. Jared Garcia said he's pleased that authorities in Utah were able to make a difference not only locally, but outside the state, too. This case, he said, is a great example of why troopers conduct follow-up investigations on all of their drug busts to try and determine where the drugs are coming from and where they're going.
"That's why we don’t just focus on the initial stop and call it a day," he said. "We really understand the importance of working with our law enforcement partners throughout the country and even, in this case, out of country.
"Anytime you have continued investigation that has a successful end result, it makes us feel like our efforts are worthwhile. Public safety issues are not compartmentalized. They don’t just affect people in Utah."