Courtroom gavel

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal grand jury last week charged 21 people, including nine from Weber County, for their alleged roles in conspiring to distribute illegal drugs along the Wasatch Front, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The press release said the suspects supposedly intended to sell methamphetamine, cocaine, fentanyl and heroin. Charges stem from efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, which includes the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, Wasatch Metro Narcotics Strike Force, Davis County Metro Narcotics Strike Force, West Valley Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Service.

Over the course of the operation, officers involved with the task force seized more than 27 pounds of methamphetamine, 4 pounds of fentanyl, 2 pounds of heroin, 22 pounds of cocaine, two firearms and more than $415,000, according to the press release.

The 32-count indictment includes a string of charges, among them conspiracy to distribute drugs, distribution of drugs, possession with intent to distribute drugs, using a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and using a cellular phone to facilitate the distribution of methamphetamine. Assistant U.S. attorneys in the Utah U.S. Attorney’s Office are prosecuting the case, the press release said.

The defendants include:

Francisco Javier Quezada Aguirre, aka “el Negro” or “Poncho,” 27, of Mexico;

Edwin Alberto Espino Alfaro, “Gordito,” 33, of Ogden;

Isaac Celaya Almanza, “Chupa” or “Flaco,” 50, of Ogden;

Melvin Bladimir Andrade, “The Trucker,” 32, of Roy;

Hector Holguin Barrios, “Viejo,” 57, of Midvale;

Hugo Morales Chavero, 30, of Salt Lake City;

Hector Ramses Blasco Cota, “Winnie,” 25, of Salt Lake City;

Jesus Antonio Hernandez Guerrero, “Tonio,” 35, of North Ogden;

Carlos Enrique Canos Gutierrez, 26, of West Valley City;

Victor Guzman, “Chiste,” 46, of Ogden;

Jose Luis Hernandez, “Chepe,” 60, of Ogden;

Pedro Ignacio Mendoza Ibarra, 28, of Mexico;

Andrea Islas, 24, of Salt Lake City;

Josiel Rogelio Morales Lopez, 21, of Lehi;

Mario Moreno, 40, of Ogden;

Marissa Perez, 22, of Torrance, California;

Victor Noe Martinez Portillo, 31, of West Jordan;

Erick Garcia Rivera, 40, of West Valley City;

Troy Rivera, “Vecino” or “Gonzo,” 48, of Farr West;

Juan Carlos Rosas Rosas, 37, of Ogden; and

Rubi Rosario Almenta Sanchez, 33, of Westminster, California

Contact reporter Emily Anderson at eanderson@standard.net. Follow her on Twitter at @emilyreanderson.

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