SALT LAKE CITY — Authorities arrested 21 members of various “home grown” Utah white supremacist gangs for selling drugs and guns in the Salt Lake City area, federal prosecutors said.
Prosecutors unsealed 15 indictments against members of the Soldiers of Aryan Culture, Silent Aryan Warriors and Noble Elect Thugs Friday detailing the charges.
The investigation started in June 2019. Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms worked with local gang units targeting drug and gun trafficking. During the course of the investigation, 1.65 pounds of methamphetamine were purchased and 15 firearms were recovered. Ten guns were taken during the investigation and another five were seized when warrants were executed Wednesday when 11 people were arrested, prosecutors said. Ten of the other members who were charged were already in custody.
“Many of the defendants have been involved in criminal conduct in Utah communities for many years,” prosecutors said in a media release.
Defendants were charged with distribution of methamphetamine, possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of a firearm during a narcotics trafficking offense. Some of the defendants, if convicted, will be facing double maximum sentence penalties because of previous criminal convictions.
“We have not waited for the criminals do something before we do something,” U.S. Attorney John Huber told the Deseret News. “We have taken the game to them. It’s on our terms, not theirs.”