Six Utah residents, five of them of Hispanic originhave been charged with trafficking cocaine and methamphetamine between California and the Wasatch Front.
Following an investigation by federal and local forces that led to his arrest, a federal grand jury returned 16 counts against Leonardo Ortiz-Rios or Gerardo Ortiz Benitez, 45 years old; Teresa Sanchez, 45 years old; Alejandro Santana-Brito, 35, all of West Valley City; as well as Jacinto Pérez, 61, of Taylorsville; Jose Guadalupe Ruiz, 53, of Tooele.
The sixth defendant is Justin Archuleta, whose alias is Philip Zachary Colvin, 50, of Salt Lake City.
In a statement, the prosecutor’s office reported that the arrests followed a tip that led to an investigation about a group of people transporting cocaine from California to Utah for distribution.
From November 2021 through February 2022, FBI agents and a Wasatch Metro Police Narcotics Task Force made controlled purchases of cocaine and methamphetamine from the defendants.. During the investigation, agents seized more than 1.8 kilograms of cocaine, more than a pound of methamphetamine, two firearms and more than $102,000 in cash.
The most compromised of the detainees is Jacinto Pérez, who is accused of one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, four counts of distribution, three counts of distribution of methamphetamine and one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
Leonardo Ortiz-Rios, faces one charge of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and another for distribution of cocaine.
Teresa Sanchez is charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
Alejandro Santana-Brito, faces one charge of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and two for distribution of cocaine, as well as for helping a previously deported foreigner re-enter the country.
Justin Archuleta, or Philip Zachary Colvin, is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, one count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, and possession of a firearm.
José Guadalupe Ruiz, has one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and one count of possession with intent to distribute.