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Utah Mexican Restaurant taken down in Sinaola Cartel Bust

Utah Mexican Restaurant taken down in Sinaola Cartel Bust

Tacos al pastor, horchata and…a kilo of cocaine?

One of the world’s most powerful drug cartels is weaker today after federal drug agents say they have “decimated” a Utah-based cell of the cartel.

After the arrest Tuesday of seven suspects an outlet of the Sinaloa cartel is “out of business,” said Frank Smith, assistant special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration Utah operations.

One of the most public arrest happened at the Mi Ranchito restaurant at 3600 S. State Street in South Salt Lake. Investigators say one of the restaurant owners was in a command role in the cartel cell.

Agents have been investigating the cartel for 18 months and arrested 30 people in Utah, California and Nevada. They also seized 30 pounds of methamphetamine, 2.5 pounds of heroin, one kilo of cocaine, more than $320,000 in assets and many guns, including AK-47s.

“Sometimes individuals are not what they appear, and we had some what people thought were legit business people that ran what seemed to be legitimate businesses here and we affected a couple of arrests at businesses across town,” said DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Frank Smith.

Agents hope evidence from the Utah investigation will lead to more arrests in Mexico, Smith said.

Based on reporting from the Salt Lake Tribune and KSL.

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