News / Utah / 

KSL, File

19-year-old arrested after yearlong investigation into Utah drug group

By Pat Reavy, KSL | Posted - Sep 11th, 2019 @ 12:03pm

WEST JORDAN — A 19-year-old Salt Lake man that police say is a key player in a “large-scale drug operation” has been arrested following a yearlong investigation by West Jordan police and federal agents.

Police on Wednesday said they had seized money, firearms and drugs that were being distributed across the valley, including in some of West Jordan’s schools.

Ntwydamala Christian Cook was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of engaging in a continued criminal enterprise, four counts of drug distribution, forgery and reckless endangerment.

According to the arresting officer’s jail booking report, Cook has been under surveillance for the past 13 months.

“During my investigation, I found Mr. Cook was using various Snapchat accounts and (the) U.S. Postal Service to illegally sell large amounts marijuana, dabs, THC cartridges, THC edibles, cocaine, acid, ecstasy and fraudulent driver’s licenses,” the report states.

The investigating officer, working undercover, became friends with Cook on his Snapchat account.

“Once Mr. Cook accepted my friend requests, I was able to view his public posts where he openly advertised the illegal sale of the above-listed narcotics and fraudulent driver’s licenses from various states,” according to the report.

After collecting evidence on Cook, “I found Mr. Cook was the local head or manager of a large-scale drug operation. Mr. Cook arranged shipments, payments and conducted numerous business meetings with these employees and business partners,” the report states. “Mr. Cook would arrange large shipments of various narcotics to Utah and then arrange their distribution throughout the valley and nation. Records from search warrants show Mr. Cook paying, or receiving thousands of dollars back and forth from his customers, or employees. Mr. Cook would then offer and arrange drug deals through his Snapchat accounts. Mr. Cook often advertised he was selling fraudulent driver’s license and recently firearms.”

On Aug. 31, a search warrant was served on Cook’s apartment, where “dozens of THC cartridges, marijuana, LSD, bottle of Oxycodone, 2 bags of mushrooms, a bag of a white crystal substance, a bag of a red substance, THC edibles, over $11,000 in cash, 2 AR-15 assault rifles, 1 loaded Smith and Wesson handgun, ammunition” and more was seized, the report states.

On Monday, another search warrant was served and Cook was taken into custody.

Because of the investigation, investigators seized more weapons, including an AK-47, a shotgun and more handguns, according to West Jordan police, as well as approximately $100,000 worth of drugs.

Investigators have identified at least five other associates Cook was working with and anticipate additional arrests in the coming weeks.

What is particularly concerning, according to police, is that many of the drugs linked to Cook’s group were showing up in schools in West Jordan and adjacent communities. Furthermore, investigators believe the group can be linked to several violent crimes throughout the valley over the past year.

“The suspect is part of a well-organized criminal entity with large amounts of currency available to him. He also has close connections with individuals capable of producing false driver’s licenses, Social Security cards and passports. This case will require a large amount of follow up including interviews with the suspect. I believe if the suspect is released he will flee the state to avoid pending charges,” the jail report states.

In April, Cook was charged in Tooele County’s 3rd District Court with failing to respond to an officer’s order to stop, a third-degree felony; reckless driving and possession of drug paraphernalia, both class B misdemeanors; and having no car insurance, a class C misdemeanor.

In that incident, Cook tried to flee from police, according to charging documents, and at one point he drove the wrong way on a freeway on-ramp. He was arrested after his vehicle became high-centered on the median. A warrant was issued for his arrest when he failed to show up for court, which was still outstanding at the time of his arrest on Monday.

Pat Reavy

KSL Weather Forecast