Police have broken up a major drug operation suspected of supplying large amounts of methamphetamine to Utah.
Following a two-year investigation by federal agents, West Valley City, Murray, Sandy police and the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office, two ring leaders in a major meth operation were arrested last week in Oregon. Three others also were arrested, and five to six more arrests are pending in Salt Lake City and West Valley City, said West Valley assistant police chief Buzz Nielsen.
On Wednesday, police in Utah also served six search warrants and discovered a meth lab in a storage facility directly linked to one of the men arrested in Oregon.
Authorities also executed search warrants in Oregon and Washington, seizing a meth lab capable of producing 20 pounds of meth per cook, along with several other small labs.
Police also seized about six pounds of meth, $30,000 in cash and seven guns.
This particular meth ring has been connected with at least 10 meth labs already seized in Utah, and many of the drugs produced in Washington and Oregon were being brought to Utah, police said.
"Those in the meth community were rocked by the news of the arrest of these two individuals," Drug Enforcement Administration assistant special agent in charge Barry Jamison said. "We think that we have annihilated this organization."
One of the drug dealers arrested had an operation that is classified as a "super lab" by the federal government, or a lab capable of producing more than 10 pounds of meth per cook.
In 1998, only 50 operations were given super-lab status in the nation, said Nielsen.
"He could have easily made millions with this," he said.
"We worked this case from the top down," Jamison said. "They've had their hands in the meth cookie jar for quite a few years."