SALT LAKE CITY - More than two dozen documented members and associates of several “home-grown” White supremacist gangs in Utah have been charged following an investigation into the distribution of drugs and firearms, authorities announced Friday.
A total of 15 indictments were unsealed Friday morning in federal court, alleging “the distribution of methamphetamine, felon in possession of a firearm, and possession of a firearm during and in relation to a narcotics trafficking offense,” a statement from the Justice Department reads.
Authorities said 21 individuals are facing charges around the Salt Lake City and Ogden areas.
An investigation began in June 2019 with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the two gang units working in tandem to target drug and firearms trafficking throughout the state.
Roughly 1.65 pounds of methamphetamine was purchased during the investigation. Fifteen firearms were recovered, including 10 during the investigation and five when arrest warrants were executed this week, according to the statement.
“Many of the defendants have been involved in criminal conduct in Utah communities for many years. In two cases, this criminal history will allow federal prosecutors to seek a significant federal sentencing enhancement if they are convicted of the charges,” the statement reads.
Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers of the National Security Division, takes off his mask to speak during a press conference on a national security matter at the Department of Justice on October 7, 2020 in Washington, DC.
The following individuals are facing charges related to the investigation:
Steven Mack Swena, Clinton Dean Spencer, Richard Ryan, Amanda Lee Graham, Jared Loren Brown, Thomas Radford, Justin William Austin, Cody Kelly Wright, Jerrad Luis Colvin, James William Broadhead, Johnathan Dale Miller, Brian Christopher Jenson, Timothy Cox*, Heather Brooke Hebdon, Jesse Harris, Bret Miller, Michael Byrd, Timothy Daniel Jepsen*, Tyler William Riding, Jordan Anderson and Chance Robinson.
Prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah filed a notice of a sentencing enhancement for defendants with an asterisk next to their names, which would potentially double their statutory maximum sentence or their mandatory minimum sentence.
The potential penalties and fines if convicted range from a five-year mandatory minimum in prison up to life maximum. Some of the individuals charged face up to a $10 million fine.
This story was reported from Cincinnati.