PUBLIC RELATIONS UNIT
January 24, 2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact Information: PolicePRUnit@slcgov.com
SLCPD, DEA Narcotics Task Force Warn of Bath Salt Dangers
SALT LAKE CITY — Today, Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown joined the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Metro Narcotics Task Force and other law enforcement executives to warn community members about bath salts and to discuss a bath salt drug trafficking investigation.
“Today, law enforcement throughout the Salt Lake Valley is in an aggressive fight against highly organized, sophisticated, and determined drug trafficking organizations,” said SLCPD Chief Mike Brown. “What you see on TV these days is not that far off from our reality. These drug trafficking organizations are skilled and will use all available methods to hide their enterprises in search of a profit.”
Last year, the Utah DEA Metro Narcotics Task Force targeted bath salt distributors. The task force arrested 25 people, seized more than 40 kilograms of bath salts, more than $6 million in real estate, four firearms, and approximately $2.5 million in cash and assets, including 21 vehicles valued at $400,000, $300,000 in jewelry and $300,000 in designer handbags.
“We are in the midst of an opioid epidemic here in Utah,” said DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Dustin Gillespie. “We are seeing an oversaturated market for fake pills containing fentanyl. While the DEA task force prioritizes its efforts towards this epidemic, it is important to know that there are many other dangerous drugs affecting our communities.”
This investigation confirmed the distribution of bath salts is widespread throughout the Salt Lake Valley and is detrimental to the quality of life in our communities.
Bath salts are typically found in white powder form, or capsules.
They are packaged and commonly sold at the retail level through smoke shops, the internet, or hand-to-hand transactions.
Using bath salts can lead to agitation, paranoia, delusions, aggression and sometimes death.
The dismantling of these sophisticated illegal drug operations cannot be done without support from local, regional, and federal partnerships.
“Joint investigations with our partners have led to a focus on the larger drug trafficking organizations operating in the Salt Lake City area,” said Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Assistant Special Agent in Charge Brandon Crane. “This cooperation has ultimately led to the dismantlement of several of these large groups. HSI remains focused on our shared quest to identify and destroy trans-national criminal organizations that attempt to distribute this dangerous contraband across our borders.”
“Our community is safer because of the investigations that are being done by this partnership,” said United States Attorney for the District of Utah Trina Higgins. “These investigations could not be done by federal agencies alone. We have to have the assistance of our local partnerships.”
The SLCPD would like to recognize the members of the DEA Narcotics Task Force:
● Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
● Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
● Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
● Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
● United States Postal Inspection Service
● United States Marshals Service
● United States Attorney’s Office (USAO)
● Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS)
● Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office
● Summit County Sheriff’s Office
● West Valley City Police Department
● Sandy City Police Department
● Park City Police Department
● South Jordan City Police Department
● Tooele City Police Department
● Unified Police Department of Greater Salt Lake
Photos of the evidence recently seized are being released. Media may use these photos with credit to the U.S. DEA.
A video of the press conference can be viewed by visiting: https://youtu.be/L3CYF3MiYgk.
Because the investigations remain ongoing, there is no other information available for release.