25 arrested in early morning drug raid

Raid was part of Operation Rio Grande

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah)- Twenty-five people were arrested Thursday morning after a drug raid.

Around 6 a.m. officers with the Department of Public Safety’s Special Emergency Response Team (SERT), the State Bureau of Investigation, Utah Adult Probation and Parole, and SLCPD served a warrant on known drug house near North Temple and 900 West.


They say they are addressing drug trafficking in and around the Rio Grande area and across the state.

“This is a great example of multiple agencies working together to make a profound impact on the problems faced in the Rio Grande area. There are dangerous criminal elements out there and we are steadily progressing in our efforts to make Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas a safer place,” Commissioner Keith Squires with the Utah Department of Public Safety said. 

"I was sound asleep at about six o'clock this morning and I heard some loud booms," said Jeremiah Stratton who lives on Laxon Court.
 
More than likely those sounds were percussion grenades used by a swat team prior to entering a house.
After 25 men and women were taken into custody, evidence of drugs, guns, and ammo was bagged by law enforcement.
Authorities also sad a runaway teen was also found in the home.
 
"That is a major, major, bust," said House Speaker Greg Hughes at an Operation Rio Grande press conference.  "24 individuals that were the worst of the worst at the highest level,  but also human trafficking at its worse level."
 
The Utah Highway Patrol said the actual number was 25 arrested.  Officers with the Department of Public Safety, Salt Lake City police and Adult Probation and Parole made the bust shortly after six a.m. Thursday.
It was another chapter of Operation Rio Grande.
 
"There was intelligence gathered from down around Rio Grande and certain areas around that linked this house to Operation Rio Grande," said Sgt. Todd Royce with the Utah Highway Patrol. "(It was) the criminal element of Rio Grande."
 
The Utah Highway Patrol was the lead agency for the arrest.  It is part of the Department of Public Safety which oversees the law enforcement part of Operation Rio Grande,
 
Major Jeff Anderson with the UHP said the house was known by many people who frequented the area outside of Salt Lake's homeless shelter.

"Think of that (house) as basically a safe harbor for criminals is what this place was right off of a main thoroughfare," said Major Anderson.

The house is at 148 Laxon Court which is about one-half block north of North Temple and 815 West.
Major Anderson said those arrested may be facing charges of drug distribution, drug possession, human trafficking, harboring fugitives and parole violation.
Neighbors heard the sounds of police outside their windows when they broke down the door.
 
"I heard a somebody coming by saying 'stay in your house' that was over a loud speaker and that went on for about five or ten minutes," said Stratton.
 
But they didn't seem to mind.  Neighbors welcomed police after witnessing possible drug trade for months on their small Salt Lake City street.
 
"It was pretty obvious," said Hyrum Strong who also lives on Naxon Court.  "When you see that many different people going into the same house, its kind of a revolving door of people. Somethings going on."
 

ABC4's Marcos Ortiz spoke with Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Todd Royce about  the bust:


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