The U.S. Department of Justice has charged 21 alleged white supremacist gang members and associates in Utah with distributing methamphetamine and firearms around the state.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Utah identified three separate white supremacist gangs as part of an investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force: Soldiers of Aryan Culture, Silent Aryan Warriors and Noble Elect Thugs.
“Many of the defendants have been involved in criminal conduct in Utah communities for many years,” the statement issued Friday by the attorney’s office said. The investigation to identify “drugs and firearms trafficking activities” began in June 2019 and the alleged gangs were based around the Salt Lake City and Ogden areas.
Eleven defendants were arrested Wednesday and 10 were already in custody, the statement said.
Per the statement, 1.65 pounds of methamphetamine were purchased over the course of the investigation, as well as 15 firearms. One defendant was also charged with distributing heroin.
For two defendants, prosecutors may be able to seek an enhanced sentence due to their prior criminal histories.
This charge comes a day after Richard Holzer, a 28-year-old Colorado man who self-identified as a white supremacist, was charged with a federal hate crime after plans to blow up a synagogue were stopped by agents.
Contributing: Jordan Culver, USA TODAY. Follow Joshua Bote on Twitter: @joshua_bote.