OGDEN — The ongoing operation to clean up the Rio Grande area has led investigators to Ogden.
On Tuesday, officers from four agencies served a search warrant on a house in Ogden that was believed to be supplying drugs to the downtown Salt Lake area.
Inside the house in the 100 block of Adams Street, investigators found 12 grams of methamphetamine, a half-pound of heroin, a small amount of cocaine, two firearms and more than $53,000 in cash, said State Bureau of Investigation Capt. Tyler Kotter.
Two adults and a 3-month-old child were also inside the house. Chris Espinoza was arrested for investigation of drug distribution, child endangerment and two counts of possession of a dangerous weapon. His wife, Sonya Espinoza, was arrested for investigation of child endangerment.
Kotter said he does not believe the Espinozas were solely doing business in the Rio Grande area.
The search warrant was a direct result of information gathered through the continuing law enforcement efforts of Operation Rio Grande. Information gathered during the operation has led to seven search warrants being served on homes where detectives believe residents are supplying drugs to the area around the homeless shelter.
Tuesday's warrant was the first served outside of the Salt Lake area. But Kotter said he's not surprised that people in Ogden were traveling to Salt Lake to make drug deals.
"It's not surprising. Drug dealers are going to go where their clients are, where they can sell the products. And I think historically the Rio Grande area had been an open-air drug market and it was easy to sell in that area just because of the volume of people in that area that have substance abuse issues," he said. "So it's not surprising that drug dealers would go to that area. Not surprising at all."
Where Chris Espinoza was allegedly getting his drugs and how he was transporting them to Salt Lake City was still being investigated Wednesday.
"We just know that this guy was dealing in the area," Kotter said.
Kotter said the intelligence gathering efforts are continuing and he doesn't believe this would be the last search warrant served.
Last week, the Utah Department of Public Safety announced that 31 people had been arrested in four drug raids tied to Operation Rio Grande, including 25 at a home at 148 N. Laxon Court (915 West).
The agencies that served Tuesday's warrant included the Department of Public Safety’s State Bureau of Investigation, Weber Morgan Narcotics Strike Force, Utah Adult Probation and Parole and the Ogden Police Department.
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