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SALT LAKE CITY — A state strike force has busted an operation that was allegedly selling drugs and false ID cards.
Six suspects were arrested Thursday while executing a search warrant at an apartment complex in Midvale.
The Utah attorney general's SECURE Strike Force arrested the group as part of lengthy investigation into an organization suspected selling methamphetamine and false Social Security cards, driver's licenses and "green cards."
"For those people out there wondering how big a problem this is, it's been huge," said chief deputy attorney general Kirk Torgenson. Similar operations "are just all over the place, manufacturing false social cards, numbers, drivers licenses, you know, the whole thing."
The AG's office says the six were in the U.S. unlawfully and now face a variety of charges from possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute to possession of forged writing and prior deportation and re-entry.
Because several of the men were believed to be carrying guns, agents entered without notice. No one was injured.
"Yeah, it was 'no-knock.' Of course, with recent events we had some trepidation about that," Torgenson said, referring to the gunfight Jan. 4 in Ogden involving the Weber-Morgan Narcotic Strike Force, in which one officer was killed and six others were wounded.
Those booked into Salt Lake County Jail were: Francisco Javier Manenche-Bracamontes, 25, for investigation of possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute, possession of fraudulent identification, obstruction of justice ; Juan Zacapala-Bacho, 22, for investigation of possession of forged writing; Joel Pineda-Prudenta, 27, for investigation of possession of forged writing; Flavio Sorroza-Vasquez, 31, for investigation of false information to police; Jose Larios-Lopez, 44, for aggravated prior deportation and aggravated re-entry; and Cesar Cirino Manenche-Torres, 34, for prior deportation and re-entry .
The statement from the Attorney General's Office said Thursday's arrest marked the 29th fraudulent document production mill shut down by the SECURE Strike Force since it was started about two years ago. The unit targets major crimes by undocumented immigrants and has now opened 465 investigations, making 287 arrests. Those cases involved a variety of allegations, including drugs, weapons, fraud, sexual offenses, human trafficking, money laundering, gambling, theft, property damage and assaults.