Drug dealer arrested in Operation Rio Grande headed to federal prison

Drug dealer arrested in Operation Rio Grande headed to federal prison

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SALT LAKE CITY — A Kearns man charged in the crackdown on drug dealing as part of Operation Rio Grande will spend more than 10 years behind bars after admitting to carrying a gun and methamphetamine.

Two members of the Operation Rio Grande Drug Task Force stopped Christopher Eugene Hooper, also known as Messy, in the area of North Temple and Redwood Road in February 2018.

A three-count federal indictment returned in March 2018 charged him with possession of a firearm and ammunition after a felony conviction, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking offense.

Hooper, 30, admitted in court to a having a Sig .380 handgun with a loaded magazine and about 38 grams of methamphetamine he intended to sell. Federal prosecutors agreed to drop one of the gun charges as part of a plea deal.

U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball sentenced Hooper to 130 months in prison.

"Convicted felon drug traffickers carrying loaded firearms is a recipe for disaster," said U.S. Attorney John W. Huber. "Getting these criminals out of our neighborhoods and into federal prison makes our neighborhoods safer for all of us.”

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Dennis Romboy
Dennis Romboy is an editor and reporter for the Deseret News. He has covered a variety of beats over the years, including state and local government, social issues and courts. A Utah native, Romboy earned a degree in journalism from the University of Utah. He enjoys cycling, snowboarding and running.


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