June 21st, 2007 08:40 EST
DEA Arrests Salt Lake City Ecstasy Distribution Organization
(SALT LAKE CITY) - Six individuals, who law enforcement authorities believe are responsible for allegedly distributing more than 100,000 MDMA (ecstasy) pills in the Salt Lake City area over the past six years, have been charged in five federal indictments. The indictments were returned over the last four months and include one unsealed Wednesday and two unsealed Tuesday.
Making the announcement today were Acting Assistant Special Agent in Charge (A/ASAC) for the Rocky Mountain Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Michael J. Root, U.S. Attorney for Utah Brett L. Tolman, Lt. Allan Swanson of the Davis Metro Narcotics Strike Force and Sandy City Police Chief Steve Chapman.
The federal charges follow an eight-month investigation by the DEA and local police agencies, including the Davis Metro Narcotics Strike Force and the Sandy City Police. The MDMA was imported into Utah from California. The pills were purchased at a cost of $2 to $4 per pill and sold to local redistributors for $7 to $8. The pills ultimately were allegedly marketed to users for $15 to $20 per pill.
Authorities say approximately 6,000 MDMA pills were taken off the street during the investigation. Cash, a 2006 Nissan Maxima, and eight firearms have been seized, including three handguns and an assault rifle law enforcement officers found as they executed the arrest of Long Ngo Tuesday.
“Our community has the right to live without the fear of our children being the targets of organizations dealing drugs like ecstasy,” said A/ASAC Root. "DEA will continue to do our job in the state of Utah - which is to target major drug trafficking organizations operating here, putting them out of business."
U.S. Attorney Tolman said, “These cases are a part of an important coordinated investigation along the Wasatch Front. I believe the primary targets of these alleged drug dealers were teen-agers and young adults in Utah who may not understand the serious potential health consequences of its use. While teen-agers or young adults may view it as a harmless “party drug,” health care professionals and law enforcement agencies understand that ecstasy is a serious threat to these young people and others who use the drug.”
Those charged in indictments include:
- Long Bao Ngo, age 31, of Murray, charged in a one-count indictment unsealed Wednesday, with conspiracy to distribute MDMA. The indictment, returned June 13, 2007, alleges the conspiracy started not later than Aug. 8, 2001, and continued through at least Sept. 24, 2006. The potential maximum penalty for the charge is 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Ngo was arrested Tuesday and had an initial appearance in federal court Wednesday morning. The government is asking for detention. A detention hearing is scheduled for Thursday at 1:45 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Warner.
- Adam Dion Corder, age 25, of Salt Lake City and Andrew Valadez, aka Andres Montemayor, age 22, of Henderson, Nevada, are charged in a two-count indictment, returned May 2, 2007, with conspiracy to distribute MDMA. Corder also is charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. The potential penalty for the MDMA count is up 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The firearm count carries a potential five-year mandatory minimum sentence which must be served consecutive to any other sentence. The indictment alleges Corder had a .40 caliber Walther handgun; an H&K 12 gauge shotgun, and two Remington 30-06 rifles. Corder and Valadez had initial appearances April 20, 2007, before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Nuffer. Both remain in custody. A three-day jury trial has been set for July 9, 2007.
- Lucas Osden Fullmer, age 22, of Taylorsville, was indicted Feb. 4, 2007, on one count of distribution of MDMA. The indictment was unsealed Tuesday. As charged, he faces a potential sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. He was arranged Feb. 15, 2007. A change of plea hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday. He is not in custody.
- Christopher Mello, age 24, of West Valley City, was indicted Jan. 31, 2007, on one count of possession of MDMA with intent to distribute. The indictment was unsealed Tuesday. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine if convicted of the charge. The court did not detain Mello.
- Mack Henry Evans, age 23, of Salt Lake City, was indicted in February on seven counts of distribution of MDMA. He pleaded guilty in May to one count of distribution of MDMA.
Sentencing is set for July 9, 2007 at 2:30 p.m. before U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball. He faces up to 20 years in federal prison. As a part of his plea agreement, he admitted that between Oct. 18, 2006, and Jan. 29, 2007, he sold 2,619 tablets of MDMA to undercover police officers.