SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah, Oct. 10, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Two Salt Lake County men have been arrested for their alleged parts in a nationwide drug distribution operation.
A probable cause statement from the 3rd District Court of Salt Lake County said N’Twydamala Christian Cook, 19, is facing charges of:
- Engaging in a criminal enterprise, a first-degree felony
- Four counts of distribution/offer/arrange distribution of a controlled substance, two of which are second-degree felonies and two of which are third-degree felonies
- Forgery, a third-degree felony
- Reckless endangerment, a class A misdemeanor
Andrew Trieu Diep, 28, is facing charges of:
- Pattern of unlawful activity, a second-degree felony
- Knowingly produce/dispense/manufacture a controlled substance, a second-degree felony
- Possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, a third-degree felony
- Money laundering, a second-degree felony
- Use or possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor
- Possession or use of a controlled substance, a class B misdemeanor
“Over the past 13 months, I have been investigating a local large-scale drug operation,” said the statements for the men. “Suspect N’twydamla Cook, local head of the organization, had been utilizing the social media application Snapchat and the U.S. Postal Service to sale large amounts of illegal narcotics in both the Salt Lake Valley and across the United States.”
During the investigation, the arresting officer became friends with Cook using an undercover Snapchat account. After Cook accepted the officer as a friend the officer could see his public posts where he “constantly advertised his illegal sale of various drugs including cocaine, acid, ecstasy, LSD, Oxycodone, Xanax, massive amounts of THC products, fraudulent driver’s licenses, and firearms,” the statements said.
During the investigation, the arresting office said Cook would often post videos to Snapchat of his bank deposit slips in an attempt to show how much money he possessed. Officials recorded the videos and then slowed them down to read the last four digits of the bank accounts.
On Oct. 9, a search warrant was served on Cook’s apartment and multiple firearms, multiple fraudulent driver’s licenses, large amounts of cash, and various types of narcotics were recovered. The narcotics included substances that tested positive for fentanyl, methamphetamine, ecstasy, LSD and large amounts of THC products. These products included marijuana, THC vape cartridges, and edibles.
“Throughout the investigation, I utilized various tactics to determine that suspect, Andrew Diep, was functioning as an employee inside the drug operation,” the arresting officer wrote. “I tracked Mr. Diep’s movements and worked with the U.S. Postal inspectors to determine Mr. Diep had numerous P.O. boxes throughout Salt Lake Valley. Postal authorities notified me multiple times of incoming packages addressed to Mr. Diep.”
Diep commonly visited his P.O. boxes and then would meet with Cook a short time later, the statements said. Numerous packages were also shipped directly to Diep. Generally, after Cook and Diep would meet, Cook would advertise he had “reupped,” the statements said.
Postal inspectors intercepted multiple packages on multiple occasions addressed to Diep. During the service of search warrants, investigators found the boxes usually contained THC vape cartridges or THC edibles. During one search warrant, postal inspectors estimated they intercepted approximately $120,000 of THC vape cartridges. Postal inspectors have reported that by researching shipping records they estimate Diep has received approximately 100 packages.
During officers’ surveillance, Diep was witnessed picking up postal packages and then loading them into Cook’s vehicle. In addition, officers located evidence of large payments to Diep from Cook.
“Mr. Diep currently maintains part-time employment but leases his apartment while sharing a lease on a high-end apartment with Mr. Cook,” the statements said. “Mr. Diep also has a 2013 Toyota Tacoma and a Harley Davidson motorcycle that have no lean holder.”
On Tuesday, officers went to Diep’s primary residence to take him into custody. Detectives also took Cook into custody and read him his Miranda rights. Cook invoked his Miranda rights and was not questioned further. During an inventory of Cook’s vehicle, numerous bank deposit slips for thousands of dollars were located. Each of the transactions appeared to try and stay just below the $10,000 mark, which can draw the bank’s attention to possible illegal activity, the statement said.
Once Cook was in custody he admitted to running the Snapchat accounts and using them to sell the narcotics and fraudulent identifications. Cook admitted to he works with California suspects and is in charge of the Utah drug sales for the organization.
Cook also has a felony warrant for fleeing, and is a suspect in numerous felony cases throughout the valley.
A search warrant was obtained for Diep’s apartment. During the search, detectives located a semi-automatic handgun and large amounts of ammunition. They also located $1,840 dollars in $20 bills, marijuana and THC “dabs,” as well as drug paraphernalia.
Detectives located multiple “pay-owe,” sheets and detailed lists regarding Cook’s drug operation. Other documents were located believed to belong to other members of the organization.
“I believe Mr. Diep was functioning as an employee to Mr. Cook and assisted in picking up shipments and laundering Mr. Cook’s money,” the statement said. “I also believe Mr. Diep knowingly directly benefited from Mr. Cook’s illegal drug sales.”
Cook and Diep were transported to Salt Lake County Jail. Cook’s bail is set at $50,00 and Diep’s at $46,360.