Eight of nine defendants in Utah's Mexican Connection II drug case were ordered detained pending trial in a hearing Friday before U.S. Magistrate Ronald N. Boyce.
Last year, a major Mexican Connection drug ring was destroyed by federal agents, and many defendants were convicted. But a new round of arrests took place last week, with defendants unrelated to the original Mexican Connection trial.The hearing for Ubaldo Ortiz-Silva, also known as Frank Silva, was continued until 1:30 p.m. Monday, when a decision will be made on whether he should be detained.
Some of the remaining eight were detained under a temporary order, with further investigation requested about bond and the defendants' background.
Defendants in the alleged heroin and cocaine rings were arrested a week and a half ago on complaints filed by the U.S. attorney's office. Under the law, they have a right to have their cases presented to a federal grand jury unless they waive indictment.
The U.S. attorney's office is expected to ask for indictments late next week. If they are indicted, trial dates will be set.
A further hearing is set for 3 p.m. next Friday.
Arrested on June 28 on two separate complaints alleging dope crimes were Santos Tapia; Gregorio Moreno; Alfonso Moreno; Antonio Alonso; Lucio Brito; Jerardo Rico; Federico Romero Mendez; Ubaldo Ortiz-Silva, also known as Frank Silva; and Manuel Estrada-Tapia.
Santos Tapia, Rico and Ortiz-Silva are listed by the U.S. attorney's office as living in the Salt Lake area; Brito and Mendez are listed as residents of Orange County, Calif. The rest are Mexico residents, according to the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Wayne Dance.
Black tar and Mexican brown heroin estimated as having a street value of nearly $12 million was seized in the case. In addition, two pistols and nearly five pounds of cocaine were confiscated.