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Police Bust Major Heroin Distribution Center

Police Bust Major Heroin Distribution Center

Posted - Apr. 11, 2003 at 5:03 p.m.



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Crime Specialist Karen Scullin reportingNarcotics cops say they found a large amount of drugs being distributed by two illegal immigrants living in the basement of a Salt Lake County home.

Hundreds of balloons-- not a sign of an upcoming party-- but in this case, a major heroin distribution center. The one plastic bag contained just under a kilo of heroin.

"We haven't run into this much heroin in a long time," said Detective Mike Smith of the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Wholesale, it cost about $22,000. But cops say the dealers would cut it into tiny amounts, combine it with coffee grounds, stuff it into tiny balloons and make thousands and thousands of dollars more on the street.

"They can actually almost realistically take a pound of heroin and make it almost two pounds by cutting it," Detective Smith said.

Detectives say Jose Puga and Salvador Banuelos were arrested after walking in on the cops cleaning up the heroin and cocaine mess inside their rooms at 3335 W. 4060 South. Cops say the home's owner was not involved.

The two suspects are in jail for now, but officers expect to see them later down the road.

"They'll voluntarily get deported back to Mexico," Detective Smith explains. "Then they'll come back under a different name."

Smith says when they do return, they'll pick up where they left off, and continue to be part of Utah's drug problem.

"If everyone knew the amount of drugs going on in this valley, they'd be shocked," Detective Smith said.

Police are still looking for several more suspects in connection with the case.

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