Authorities believe that one of the alleged drug traffickers –Raul Enrique Lizarraga Lopez, aka “Maestro” – is a key player in the drug cartel that smuggles narcotics from Mexico into the United States.
The United States Attorney’s Office District of Utah announced on Friday that a federal grand jury returned a 13-count indictment on May 24 charging two-dozen suspected drug traffickers with conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
Announcing the indictment was U.S. Attorney John W. Huber, DEA District Agent in Charge Brian S. Besser, and FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric K. Barnhart.
“There’s more out there, but this is a big one,” Huber said. “If you are a gang member, know this, you think you are targeting us, well, we are targeting you.”
During the operation, investigators say they learned of a large-scale methamphetamine trafficking ring in Utah that was being supplied by drug traffickers in California. Among those arrested is Raul Enrique Lizarraga Lopez (aka Maestro), who investigators believe is a major player in a drug cartel that ships narcotics from Mexico into the United States, KUTV-CBS reported.
“Two complaints were filed in the case prior to the return of this week’s indictment leading to the arrest of 18 of the defendants. Federal arrest warrants have been issued for Delgado, Santamaria-Zepeda, Fangupo, Cerna, Harris, and Najera, but they are not in federal custody at this time. Fangupo is in state custody on unrelated charges. Seventeen of those arrested remain in custody. Sosa has been released on supervised release conditions,” the USAO noted.
Charged in the indictment are:
- Raul Enrique Lizarraga Lopez (aka Maestro)
- Silvio McKenzie-Gainza
- Cesar Gutierrez
- Melissa Delgado
- Ciro Santamaria-Zepeda
- Makasini Lomu (aka Maka)
- Siosifina Ositamani (aka Fina Halai)
- Sompheth Thaodara (aka Diamond)
- Michael Shane Tisdale
- David Tyson Madden
- Man Tat Le (aka Asian Le)
- Gary Bronson Dean (aka Gary Dean Bronson)
- Timote Fangupo (aka Double Barrel)
- Mario Cerna (aka Havoc)
- Morgan Harris (aka Ace)
- Brandon Callaway
- Cerina Gutierrez
- Jon Martinez (aka Droopy)
- Greg Montoya, Jake Duran (aka Troublez)
- Jeremy Najera,
- Justin Dahlquist
- Linda Sosa
- Steven Trujillo
The investigation was a collaboration of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies including the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Safe Street Task Force (SSTF), U.S. Marshals, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), Utah Department of Public Safety, Unified Police Department, Murray Police Department, Salt Lake City Police Department, West Valley City Police Department, Sandy Police Department, and the West Jordan Police Department.
According to the DEA, the Sinaloa Cartel is known to be the dominant cartel in both California and Utah – it is also considered the largest and most prolific drug trafficking organization in the world.
The Sinaloa cartel controls vast, lucrative sections of the U.S.-Mexico Border where they smuggle narcotics into the U.S. using a variety of methods. It is known to dig tunnels into the U.S. under the U.S.-Mexico Border with hundreds having discovered.
Ryan Saavedra is a contributor for Breitbart Texas and can be found on Twitter at @RealSaavedra.