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Cops bust ‘Safe harbor for criminals’ with intel from Operation Rio Grande

Cops bust ‘Safe harbor for criminals’ with intel from Operation Rio Grande (Photo: Jeremy Harris)

(KUTV) – The law enforcement swarm on the Rio Grande area of Salt Lake City netted a bust at drug house that officials called a ‘safe harbor for criminals.’

A SWAT team moved in silently early Thursday morning on the home near 150 North Laxon Court (950 West).

“When they entered the house, they took 25 people into custody,” Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Todd Royce told 2News. “This operation is an intelligence-based narcotics operation with direct ties to Rio Grande.”

Investigators suspect the house was a source of many of the drugs sold on the streets around the homeless shelter of Salt Lake City.

At an update on Operation Rio Grande Thursday afternoon, House Speaker Greg Hughes said the house is also suspected to have ties to human trafficking.

“This is involving drug trafficking the highest levels as well as human trafficking at the worst,” Hughes said.

UHP said five of the 25 people who were arrested, five were on probation, and one was a runaway juvenile who was returned to state custody.

This was the fourth such raid since Operation Rio Grande, according to UHP Major Jess Anderson. This was the first of the four to be known publicly.

“We knew exactly what was going on,” neighbor Chris Hunt told 2News.

Hunt says everyone on Laxon Ct knew the house sold drugs and there had been many previous issues with the people living there. Hunt said she recently found a naked man covered with feces in her yard.

“They have just trashed this neighborhood,” Hunt said. , “It makes me very angry because I was afraid to even go outside.”

Hunt said the house would fill with bikes and cars on Friday and Saturday nights as people gathered the suspected drug house.

“Disgusting people, we are just so thankful to have them gone,” Hunt said.

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