Friday, March 4, 2016
SALT LAKE CITY – Four individuals are charged with trafficking drugs in Utah following an investigation by the DEA, the Davis Metro Narcotics Task Force, and the West Valley City Police Department. The drugs were transported from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City for distribution.
Charged in the seven-count indictment are Fausto Alejandro Galaviz-Gaxiola, age 21, Fernando Galaviz-Castro, age 22, Jesus Pina-Cantua, age 22, and Efrain Espinoza, age unknown. The defendants are citizens of Mexico living in West Valley City. The charges include conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine; conspiracy to distribute heroin; possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine; possession with intent to distribute heroin; and distribution of methamphetamine.
According to a complaint filed in the case, the DEA and the Davis County task force initiated a joint investigation targeting the drug trafficking activities of Galaviz-Gaxiola, Galaviz-Castro, and Espinoza in October 2015. As a part of the investigation task force officers made several under cover purchases of methamphetamine and heroin from the defendants.
A search warrant was executed Feb. 18, 2016, at a residence in West Valley City shared by Galaviz-Gaxiola, Galaviz-Castro, and Pina-Cantua. They also executed a search warrant on a vehicle used by the defendants. Agents recovered approximately 4.8 kilograms of heroin (street value of about $480,000), 2.1 kilograms of methamphetamine (street value of $126,000), and $103,764 at the home. About 615 grams of cocaine (street value of $61,500) was recovered during the search of the car, according to the complaint.
Agents also executed a search warrant on Espinoza’s residence in West Valley City and on a car he used. According to the complaint, agents located $8,000 in a sophisticated, electronically-operated compartment hidden on the front passenger side of his car.
The defendants, who were initially charged by complaint, had initial appearances in court following their arrests. They were arraigned on the indictment Thursday afternoon and entered pleas of not guilty to the charges. They will be in custody pending trial.
Indictments are not findings of guilt. Individuals charged in indictments are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in court.
The first six distribution counts of the indictment each carry potential 10-year mandatory minimum sentences. The seventh count of the indictment, distribution of methamphetamine, carries a potential 40 year sentence with a five-year mandatory minimum. The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of $111,764 in U.S. currency and two vehicles obtained or used as a part of the commission of the offenses.
Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Utah
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