Eleven Indicted for Distribution of Heroin Across Wasatch Front

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SALT LAKE CITY – Eleven members of a Wasatch Front heroin distribution ring face federal charges for distributing heroin in Utah and Idaho in an indictment unsealed Monday in federal court.

The indictment is based on a multi-month wiretap investigation into a drug trafficking organization that conspired to distribute multiple kilograms of heroin along the Wasatch Front, including Utah County, Salt Lake County, Tooele County, and Davis County, and into Idaho. During the investigation, close to 2 kilograms of heroin were seized, with multiple kilograms running through the organization since at least December of 2020. Five firearms, two of which are stolen, were also seized during the investigation.

During the approximately six-month investigation, agents completed 13 controlled purchases of heroin from members of the distribution ring. The organization in Utah operated as a cell of a much larger network of drug trafficking activity that originated in Mexico and that includes cells in Colorado and other states.

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Antonio Giron-Fernandez, 39, of Orem, who is alleged to be the leader of the Utah distribution network, is charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin, distribution of heroin, and illegally reentering the United States after being removed. Also charged in the indictment are: Fernando Antonio Medina-Garcia, 23, of Orem, who is charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin, distribution of heroin, and possession of heroin with the intent to distribute; Juan Carlos Heredia-Perez, 21, of Orem, who is charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin; Jesus Alberto Zarate-Pacheco, 26, of Orem, who is charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin and the possession of heroin with the intent to distribute; Eric Ryan Francis, 35, of West Valley City, who is charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin, possession of heroin with the intent to distribute, and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm; Michael Shane Ellison, 47, of Provo, who is charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin; Jacob Elizardo Aragon, 28, of Cottonwood Heights, who is charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin, possession of heroin with the intent to distribute, and for being a user of controlled substances in possession of a firearm; Marc Anthony Pagni, 33 of Salt Lake City, who is charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin; Christina Ann Chance, 40, of Nampa, Idaho, who is charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin and the possession of heroin with the intent to distribute; Kimberly Jo Hancock, 56, of Eagle, Idaho, who is charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin and the possession of heroin with the intent to distribute; and, Jonathan Christopher McGuire, 41, of West Valley City, who is charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin.

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Assistant U.S. Attorneys from the Utah U.S. Attorney’s Office are prosecting the case. Special Agents from FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, including detectives from the West Valley City Police Department, along with detectives from the Davis Metro Narcotics Task Force and the Layton City Police Department, conducted the investigation.

Indictments are not findings of guilt.  Defendants charged in indictments are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in court.

 

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