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OFFICERS RAID 4 HOMES SUSPECTED IN DRUG RING

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More than 50 officers from seven state and local agencies raided four Salt Lake residences believed to be involved in a cocaine and heroin ring Friday.

The investigation began six weeks ago when U.S. postal inspectors discovered that narcotics were being mailed to Salt Lake City from a Southern California address, said Salt Lake Police Lt. Bill Shelton.Undercover detectives and agents from the Airport Narcotics Task Force saw a woman pick up a package at the Salt Lake International Airport Friday morning. They followed her, and officers stopped her vehicle on a traffic stop at 600 North and 1200 West.

Shelton said the package contained 250 grams of cocaine with a street value of $25,000 and 25 grams of black tar heroin valued at $12,000.

Officers said they believe the woman was heading toward an apartment at 450 N. 800 West. Agents - some dressed in "Busted by Metro" T-shirts - subsequently served no-knock search warrants at two apartments at that location as well as homes at 325 N. Argyle Court (642 West) and 1244 N. Victoria Way (960 West).

Young children were at some of the residences, but Shelton said agents had been conducting surveillance at the homes, knew that children were present and used extra caution in serving the warrants. "All in all, they went extremely smoothly and quietly," he said.

Officers discovered an additional quarter pound of cocaine inside a shirt pocket in a closet at the home on Argyle Court. That cocaine has a street value of approximately $13,500.

Two Salt Lake women, ages 25 and 31, were arrested for investigation of possession of narcotics. Shelton said more arrests were anticipated and said other property, including vehicles, will likely be seized. Agents said at least one search warrant will likely be served in the Southern California location where the drugs originated.

Officers began planning details of the raids about 4:30 a.m. Friday. The six-week investigation was also conducted with the cooperation of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; the Metro Narcotics Task Force; West Valley and Salt Lake SWAT teams; and government agents from the state.