Three Davis County women are among 13 people charged in an alleged Wasatch Front methamphetamine trafficking operation.
Charges stem from an FBI investigation that began in summer 2019 and resulted in arrests in Utah and at least one in California through August this year, according to documents in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.
In an indictment filed Aug. 6 and unsealed Aug. 26, Kelly Lyn Willmore, 55, of Davis County, is accused of two counts of methamphetamine distribution and one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
She is accused of distributing at least 50 grams of the drug in Davis County on July 17, 2019.
The indictment alleged Willmore collaborated with another Davis woman, Janet Ellen Henson, 47, to deal the drug in Salt Lake County on July 30, 2019.
Henson is charged with one count of distributing methamphetamine and one count of conspiring to distribute it.
Nichole Anne Mata, 35, another Davis resident, is charged with a conspiracy count and one count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.
Her alleged distribution of at least 50 grams of the drug was said to have occurred May 1 this year in Salt Lake County.
All three Davis residents have narcotics possession convictions on their records in state courts.
If convicted on the charges as filed, each defendant could be sentenced to a minimum mandatory 10 years to life in federal prison.
Willmore and Mata remained held Thursday in the Davis County Jail in Farmington. The U.S. Marshals Service contracts with local jails to hold federal detainees.
Henson's custody status was not known.
An attorney for one of the other defendants, Justin William Pierce of Murray, filed a motion in federal court Monday asking that he be released pending trial.
Emily Swenson, a criminal defense attorney based in Ogden, argued that Pierce is not a risk to flee.
She said in her motion that Pierce was pulled over by California police on March 25. She said police "proclaim to have seized" 34 pounds of methamphetamine in the traffic stop.
Pierce was released later and returned home to Utah. He was arrested at his apartment a month later and was ordered held pending trial.
She said Pierce had ample opportunity to flee after California police released him, but he returned home to Murray, where authorities knew to find him.
U.S. prosecutors oppose Swenson's motion, contending that Pierce and a co-defendant may have planned to go to Mexico.
In the indictment against the 13 defendants, the U.S. Attorney's Office alleged the group together distributed more than 500 grams of methamphetamine.
As part of the indictment, prosecutors served notice to the court of their intent to seize more than $47,000 in cash and a 2016 Toyota Scion confiscated from the defendants.