PROVO — Three people have been charged in connection with a drug distribution case with alleged ties to a Mexican drug cartel.
Arturo Efrain Benavides, 29, of Phoenix, Gerardo Andres Luna-Luna, 33, of Lynwood, California, and Kevin Gerardo Corona, 27, of Springville, were charged Wednesday in 4th District Court with two counts each of drug distribution, both first-degree felonies with possible gang enhancements during sentencing if convicted.
On Jan. 31, investigators with the Utah County Major Crimes Task Force, along with Juab County sheriff's deputies, were tipped off that "they could purchase a large amount of methamphetamine" from a man who claimed "he was working with the Sinaloa Mexican cartel," according to charging documents.
After placing an order with undercover officers, investigators monitored the drug shipment as it made its way from California to Utah in two vehicles, the charges state.Comment on this story
"Officers were able to locate and stop both of the vehicles involved," according to the charges. "A K-9 alerted on the vehicle and in the trunk, officers found a bag. Inside of the bag was 14.5 pounds of methamphetamine."
In the second vehicle, police found Benavides. The two other men were in the first vehicle, the charges state. Those men said they were being paid $600 by Benavides to transport "drugs or something" in the trunk of their car, according to the charges.