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ST. GEORGE — A total of 17 people were indicted by a federal grand jury earlier this month in connection with an alleged ring of drug distribution and money laundering in the St. George area.
A grand jury handed down a 24-count indictment that includes charges of conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, methamphetamine and marijuana in Washington County, according to a news release from the Utah U.S. Attorney's Office. The indictment also alleges the group worked with drug traffickers in Mexico to possess and distribute narcotics in southern Utah and launder proceeds from the drug trade.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said the charges stem from an investigation between local and federal investigators, which ultimately resulted in the seizure of three kilograms of methamphetamine and thousands of fentanyl pills, the release says.
Federal law enforcement alleges that Angel Rubio-Quintana, 41, who was indicted on 14 counts by the grand jury — the most among those charged — and others ordered drugs from Mexico and sold the narcotics around southern Utah. The money then went back to Mexico, according to federal prosecutors.
"The U.S. Attorney's Office is committed to federally prosecuting drug traffickers who fuel addiction and crime in southern Utah," said U.S. Attorney for Utah Andrea Martinez in a statement. "This prosecution highlights law enforcement's tireless efforts to dismantle drug-trafficking organizations from suppliers in Mexico to drug dealers in St. George."
The 17 people indicted are:
- Angel Rubio-Quintana, 41, of St. George
- Ramon Higuera-Cota, 49, of Sinaloa, Mexico
- Presciliano Galax-Felix, aka "Chito," 54, of Sinaloa, Mexico
- Jaime Rivera-Jauregui, aka "Charras," 35, of St. George
- Carlos Rubio-Acosta, 19, of St. George
- Lauro Ignacio-Morales, aka "Junior," 20, of St. George
- Llonatan Gutierrez-Ruiz, aka "Barbas," 59, of St. George
- Alfreida Simpson, 38, of St. George
- Tanya Adame, 19, of St. George
- Raul Valdez-Chavez, 62, of Riverside County, California
- Juana Marin-Angel, 34, of West Jordan
- Daniel Tena-Villasenor, 28, of Jerome
- Tracy Eyman, 52, of Diamond Valley, Washington County
- Juan Carlos Orozco, 40, of St. George
- Paul Ciriaco, 33. of St. George
- Oliver Mendez-Rojas, aka "Willy," 21, of St. George
- Hardet Alan Valdez, aka "Moshi," 20, of St. George
Members of the Washington County Drug Task Force, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Marshals Service, Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation Division, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement contributed to the investigation.
Court records show that at least 10 of those indicted were ordered to be detained pending trial.