The US Department of Justice has charged 21 suspected white supremacist gang members and associates in Utah with distributing methamphetamine and guns statewide.
The United States Attorney’s Office in the District of Utah has identified three distinct white supremacist gangs in an investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force: Soldiers of Aryan Culture , silent Aryan warriors and elected noble thugs.
“Many defendants have been implicated in criminal acts in Utah communities for many years,” said the statement released Friday by the prosecutor’s office. The investigation to identify “drug and gun trafficking activity” began in June 2019 and the suspected gangs were based in the Salt Lake City and Ogden areas.
Eleven defendants were arrested on Wednesday and 10 were already in detention, the statement said.
According to the statement, 1.65 pounds of methamphetamine was purchased during the investigation, along with 15 firearms. An accused was also charged with distributing heroin.
For two defendants, prosecutors may be able to seek an enhanced sentence because of their criminal history.
The accusation comes a day after Richard Holzer, a 28-year-old Colorado who self-identified as a white supremacist, was charged with federal hate crime after plans to blow up a synagogue were stopped by agents.
Contributor: Jordan Culver, USA TODAY. Follow Joshua Bote on Twitter: @joshua_bote.