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Authorities say many arrests made in Utah drug trafficking probe

Law enforcement held a news conference Thursday to tout arrests made in an alleged heroin trafficking and distributing investigation after search and arrest warrants were served this week in both Lake and Utah counties. Authorities say that the investigation had been going on for months and involved investigators from the federal, state and local levels. Law enforcement says that the alleged drug trafficking ring had ties to Mexico and several other states.

Utah officials say that roughly 20 pounds of heroin was seized in Utah raids this week. Thirteen people were arrested in Utah associated with those raids; an additional four people have been arrested outside of Utah. But, authorities say that the probe continues. More people may face charges as authorities seek to expand their horizons in bringing drug charges in what police are calling the biggest heroin bust in Utah history.

In all, officials say that 90 pounds of the drug has been seized related to the trafficking ring allegations. The larger amount of heroin includes amounts seized during the investigation—some of the drug reportedly was found in Arizona, a shipping point for drugs allegedly coming out of Mexico.

Obviously, with officers from the federal, state and local levels involved, the complexity of the issues can increase with a high-profile drug bust. Different agencies apparently have been involved, and it is not clear from a story in the Deseret News any details on the overall charges that may flow.

Generally, when agencies, such as Homeland Security and the FBI are involved, federal drug charges are possible in an interstate drug probe.

Both state and federal drug charges can bring exposure to harsh criminal sentencing consequences if a conviction is ultimately entered. Anyone charged with a crime obviously has the right to be represented by a criminal defense lawyer. But, a person under suspicion of involvement in a crime need not wait for charges to seek assistance with legal counsel—especially when a high-profile investigation starts to result in the arrests of many people.

Source: Deseret News, “Heroin bust possibly largest ever for Utah," Pat Reavy, July 18, 2013

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