Smugglers arrested in Utah with 2.33 pounds of contraband after multi-agency operation

Mario Gomez-Cuevas (left) and Fabian Barriga-Mendez Photos: Salt Lake County

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Nov. 2, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — Two men — one wanted in his homeland on a murder warrant  — have been taken into custody after a search of their vehicle turned up more than two pounds of contraband.

In custody are:

  • Fabian Barriga-Mendez, 32, charged in a criminal complaint with one count of possession of a controlled substance (meth) with intent to distribute.
  • And Mario Gomez-Cuevas, 23, currently charged with reentry of a previously removed alien. Gomez-Cuevas has an active fugitive warrant out of Mexico according to a statement released by the Utah Attorney General’s Office.

Additional charges are being considered for both men.

The active investigation began on Oct. 23 when ATF agents were assisting the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force with a joint operation in Ogden, says a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

A controlled purchase of suspected meth was conducted at a local business and approximately 563.18 grams of suspected meth was collected.

Evidence suggested a larger operation, and officials conducted a traffic stop on the car driven by Barriga-Mendez with Gomez-Cuevas as a passenger.

Drug-sniffing dogs were brought in, and indicated the presence of what turned out to be 2.33 pounds of meth.

Barriga-Mendez admitted to transporting the suspected methamphetamine from Colorado to Utah, the statement claims.

“Criminal aliens and their local associates victimize us, exploit our addictions for profit, and drag down our quality of life in Utah,” a statement from U.S. Attorney John W. Huber says.

“Deadly drugs, dirty cash, and associated violence and property offenses are the results of their crimes. The rule of law protects our communities from the lawbreakers, and my partners and I are committed to holding foreign and domestic offenders accountable.”


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