3 charged in Salt Lake drug distribution ring

3 charged in Salt Lake drug distribution ring


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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Attorney General's Office charged three men Friday accused with distributing drugs throughout the Wasatch Front.

Melvin Arrazola-Raudales, 41, Rene Leonardo Trejo-Raudales, 26, and Richer Brayan Valle-Raudales, 23, were each charged in 3rd District Court with two counts of drug distribution, a second-degree felony, and possession of a weapon by a restricted person, a third-degree felony.

Trejo-Raudales was charged with two additional counts of possession of a forging device, a third-degree felony.

The charges were the result of an investigation by the attorney general's SECURE Strike Force. Agents "received information about a group of Honduran nationals selling narcotics throughout the Salt Lake Valley, specifically heroin and cocaine," according to charging documents.

On March 27, agents served a "no-knock warrant" at 1578 S. Secret Garden Place, meaning they entered the residence without first announcing their presence.

"Because the suspects in this case had been known to carry the narcotics in their mouth, making for quick disposal and/or ingestion, a 'no knock' warrant had been granted," charging documents state.

When the strike force entered the house, they encountered the three men who were arrested and charged.

"I immediately instructed assisting agents to inspect the suspects' mouths for contraband," the charges state. "Inside Mr. Arrazola-Raudales's mouth was five square white plastic twists and 27 round white plastic twists. The square twists were field tested on scene and showed positive for cocaine. The round twists were field tested on scene and showed positive for heroin."

Law enforcers then searched the house and found more than $7,500 in cash, more heroin and more cocaine throughout the residence, according to charging documents.

"In the bathroom, agents found an empty plastic gum container and two twists on the floor with water near them. Based on your (investigator's) training and understanding of drug distributors it appears likely the suspects were flushing drugs down the toilet," the charges state.

One of the suspects told investigators that he and the others "would sell drugs throughout the Salt Lake Valley. Arrazola-Raudales stated that they received narcotics from some Mexicans in the evening and would separate them into individual packaging for selling at night. The next day they would go throughout the Salt Lake Valley and sell the packages of narcotics," according to charging documents.

Arrazola-Raudales has a history of drug distribution and has been previously deported twice, the charges state.

Valle-Raudales told investigators "he is an immigrant from Honduras who has been in the United States for approximately three months. (He) attempted to cross the border in 2014. Valle-Raudales again crossed the border approximately six months ago and again was deported," the charges state.

Trejo-Raudales "reported he is an immigrant from Honduras who has been in the United States for approximately seven months," according to court documents. He told investigators he crossed the border in Texas and had been deported once before.

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Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the KSL.com team in 2021, after many years of reporting at the Deseret News and KSL NewsRadio before that.


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