Ogden drug arrests connected to Operation Rio Grande

Chris Espinoza accused of dealing in Salt Lake City

OGDEN, Utah (ABC4 Utah) More than $25,000 worth of drugs and guns were found during the raid of an Ogden home Tuesday.

Police say it has a direct connection to Operation Rio Grande. 

Chris Espionza, 50 and his wife, Sonya, 52, are the latest arrests stemming from the crackdown on illegal activity with Operation Rio Grande.

"It's been a massive effort and I think you're seeing some positive results down there," Department of Public Safety Capt. Tyler Kotter said.

Police say the Ogden man possessed a half pound of heroin, 12 grams of meth and one gram of cocaine. In the raid, police also recovered two guns and $53,000 in cash at 180 Adams Avenue. 

"We know that this guy was dealing in the area and that's what led us up there," Capt. Kotter said.

The arrests come as state and local agencies try to disrupt drug dealing within the homeless community around the downtown Salt Lake City shelter. 

While Chris is accused of being a distributor, Captain Kotter says law enforcement is also focusing on larger drug king pins. 

"You're talking half a pound of heroin. It is a lot of heroin, don't get me wrong... that is a significant amount. But the reality is there is a large amount of heroin coming into the state. Where it all goes is the challenge for law enforcement," Capt. Kotter said.

Chris has a long rap sheet which goes back to 1986. He faces two counts of possession of a dangerous weapon and possession with intent to distribute. 

He and his wife also had a young child in their Ogden home and were also charged with child endangerment. 

Investigators are also looking into filing federal charges.


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