61 people face nearly 200 felony charges as police bust alleged Ogden drug ring

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OGDEN, Utah — An alleged drug smuggling operation run by a man police described as a high-ranking member of Ogden’s Trece, or O-13, gang has been broken up, and 61 people will face charges that total to include more than 180 felonies.

Police seized more than 15 pounds of methamphetamine, more than one pound of heroin, marijuana, cocaine and psilocybin mushrooms. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and assets were also seized.

According to a press release from the Ogden Police Department, authorities arrested 37-year-old Darren Lujan, an Arizona resident and former Ogden resident who allegedly facilitated the smuggling of hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine from Arizona to northern Utah.

Lujan allegedly used gang contacts to smuggle the drugs, and he delivered them to multiple accomplices for distribution. Police said multiple gangs were involved, with the Ogden Trece gang being the “predominant gang represented in leadership roles.” Lujan faces 21 felony counts of arranging to distribute a controlled substance and one count of continuing criminal enterprise.

The Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force worked with multiple agencies to identify nine people who were allegedly directly involved with the distribution or re-distribution of methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana.

The individuals were identified in the press release as: “Maria Sabala, her son Gabriel Juarez, James Villastrigo, Bobby Gilbert Martinez, Isaac Tirado, Craig Greene, Anthony Russell Gentile, Tiffany Kay Booth and Marquita Shantell Valdez.”

Police in Arizona arrested Lujan, the alleged leader, and he will face an extradition process. According to the press release, authorities seek to bring the man back to Weber County to face the charges filed against him.

Investigators have identified 61 people who will be facing more than 180 felony charges. Police are currently working to arrest those individuals, according to the press release issued Wednesday.

According to the press release, the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force made the arrests by working with the, “Ogden office of the F.B.I., Roy Police Department, South Ogden City Police Department, Ogden City Police Department, the Ogden Metro Gang Unit, the Phoenix Police Department, the Utah Highway Patrol, the Montana Division of Homeland Security and the Arizona office of the F.B.I.”

The arrests came after a team effort by the above agencies that took place over the course of about a year.

The nine arrested and named in the release face the following charges.

43-year-old Maria Sabala of Ogden faces “23 felony counts of arranging to distribute a controlled substance and 1 count of a Continuing Criminal Enterprise.”

Gabriel Juarez, 22, of Ogden faces “19 felony counts of arranging to distribute a controlled substance, 1 count of tampering with evidence, 1 count of a Continuing Criminal Enterprise.”

James Villastrigo, 39, of Ogden faces “5 felony counts of arranging to distribute a controlled substance, 1 count of a Continuing Criminal Enterprise.”

Bobby Gilbert Martinez, 36, of South Ogden “faces 10 felony counts of arranging to distribute a controlled substance, 1 count of a Continuing Criminal Enterprise.”

Isaac Tirado, 32, of Ogden faces “6 felony counts of arranging to distribute a controlled substance, 1 count of a Continuing Criminal Enterprise.”

Craig Greene, 33, of Weber and Davis counties faces “13 felony counts of arranging to distribute a controlled substance, 1 count of a Continuing Criminal Enterprise.”

Anthony Russel Gentile, 36, of Ogden faces “12 felony counts of arranging to distribute a controlled substance, 1 felony count of a Pattern of Unlawful Activity (RICO).”

Tiffany Kay Booth, 25, of Ogden faces “3 felony counts of arranging to distribute a controlled substance, 1 felony count of a Pattern of Unlawful Activity (RICO).”

Marquita Shantell Valdez, 29, faces “2 counts of arranging to distribute a controlled substance, 1 felony count of a Pattern of Unlawful Activity (RICO).”


  • concernedcitizen

    Well this is a great article and it’s good to know that the cops are working hard to keep neighborhoods safe.

    How about we update the fox13now.com website with ads that better portray the diverse landscape of Utah.

  • rickieann

    i think its horrible that this has happened…my aunt and cousin really are great people there caring and loving and would do the world for anyone that needed help!!! you judge people by a crime and make them to be this horrible person but do you know what has gone on in these peoples lives for them to feel like they had to sale drugs in order to make it…do you know what happened in there childhood or the struggles they are faced with everyday…..? you dont so nobody on here commenting can really say anything about this..,im sure theres things in life everyone has done that wasnt right or broke the law for whatever reason or what happened in there life to make them go that route but there still human!!! people make mistakes nobody is perfect so to sit here and pretend your any better then these people is fucking sickening to me!!! im sure everyone on her commenting has broke a law whether it be speeding drinking n driving not wearing a seatbelt distributing drugs no matter what it is or how small or big it may be yes it was against the law u can minimize the mistake bt none the less if one person got a ticket for not wearing a seat belt and this other guy got caught with drugs neither is better than the other there both laws that were broke!!! and nobody can say the have never broke a law so why judge…look at ur own life n judge yourself and say god be with these people give them guidance rather than talk negative cuz if u ever got a ticket for speeding your just as bad as the man selling drugs….why because its the law cant justify n say that the man that got the speeding ticket is a better person than the man that got caught with drugs why because the crime isnt what matters its that they both new it was wrong n still did it…

  • Jessy

    They may be good people but… They clearly knew what they was doing and knew they would get busted eventually I don’t care who you are you know right from wrong!!! I’m sure your parents thought you that!! Everyone does make mistakes YES! And they should learn from the first mistake!! But some never do I have no pittey for them!! Face it you got cought!!! I hate druggies!!! Who cares what the childhood was like mine was pretty bad I used that to help others, not selling drugs that’s for sure!

  • Deniece

    Your comment makes no sense. Breaking the law is one thing, but the fact is Meth kills people!! Therefor you can not put that in the same category as not wearing a seat belt, or getting a traffic violation. Meth is a huge problem in society today and it has taken children from their parents, and killed many loved ones. I am sure half of those people are or were good people at one time. but there are other ways to take care of your family than distributing a lethal drug.

  • Andrea

    How can you sit here and even try to justify your family members actions of selling, and producing, drugs? You are right EVERYONE has most likely committed a crime in some aspect whether it be a traffic violation, or some other petty crime, but to compare those actions, to the actions of some LOWLIFE selling dope is not even comparable.
    People like you and your aunt and whom ever else you know involved in this need to go back to school and get an education and a legit job rather selling dope. People need to stop blaming their wrong actions on having a horrible childhood, or struggles in their life.
    You sit here and try to justify their actions on them having hardships rather then being real and honest and tell it like it is. They are LAZY LOWLIFES who would rather make easy money and sit home collect their food stamps and financial assistance, and have housing then go out and get a job, because if they did that then they would lose all the assistance they get.
    So please spare me on reading comments of justifying their wrong actions and blaming it on something rather then admitting the truth of who and what they really are. True enough they could be good people with loving and caring characters but they are Stupid and DESERVE TO LOSE IT ALL INCLUDING THEIR CHILDREN FOR COMMITING AND BEING INVOLVED IN THE DOPE GAME. Easy money is exactly that easy money comes and goes and in the end your left with nothing but a record and addicted to the product. I know a lot of people who live this life and love being committed and dedicated to their hood, the game , and having to constantly look over their shoulders, who have murdered or been murdered over a color, a sack , a name, a street, a gram, a ounce, just petty reason, and everyone of them DESERVE what they get because they put them selves in the situation. You live the life and you better be prepared to pay the price because it all comes to an end with them losing it all.

  • Dread

    The amount of judgement on display here is revolting. All of these people are being charged for committing a victimless crime. If someone wants to smoke marijuana, trip of psilocybin mushrooms (two drugs that are completely safe, by the way), or even take heroin or meth, that is their choice.
    It’s certainly none of your (or the government’s) business.

    Everyone who talks about the crime associated with drugs is ignoring the fact that if all these drugs were legal and you could get your fix by going to the CVS, or ABC store and buying them above the board, then a lot of social costs to addiction would go down.

    I applaud these people. They saw a niche in the market and supplied the demand, at great personal risk. That takes guts. Way more guts than writing hateful posts on the web does, certainly.

  • staci

    dread…these are NOT victimless crimes. Every last one of those people involved deserve to be caught and sent to prison for a very long time. How can you call it a victimless crime when so many who use they drugs these criminals sell die…those who use drugs need real help and those who prey on the weak and sell drugs need to be caught and taken off our streets. So much hate, violence and death go hand in hand with the drug trade. You must be a very misguided young person to think that these are “victimless” crimes.

    • Dread

      Got some statistics about these people dying you can cite?
      Psilocybin mushrooms and Marijuana are completely safe, it’s almost impossible to overdose on both of those, so they’re out. We all know that marijuana has great medical benefits, and psilocybin has been used as a religious sacrament for thousands of years, and is being researched as an antidepressant agent now.

      Methamphetamine, while a very scary drug, is also difficult to overdose on, which leaves heroin, and while I’ll concede that heroin overdose is indeed a risk, most of the risks involved with it’s use would be more effectively mitigated by providing clean needles to those who need them (that gets rid of the Hepatitis and HIV/AIDS risk) and by regulating the dose addicts are injecting, so that they know how much they are injecting, and educating them about health, addiction and tolerance.

      All of the problems associated with drug addiction could be solved by the legalization and regulation of drugs. Nicotine is one of, if not THE most addictive molecules in the world, and yet you don’t see cigarette addicts robbing stores or committing crimes to get their fix. The same is true of alcohol, which is another addictive drug.

      Once a vice is no longer illegal and underground, most of the issues associated with it vanish. Just think back to the USs failed attempt at prohibiting alcohol. It’s exactly the same.

      As for the victimless crime thing: it is no one’s business but mine what I put in my body. If I want to shoot heroin, that is between me, my family and my God. Period.

  • rich beeman

    loose a son or daughter see how you feel yes they took it on their own free will but they are hooked and dont understand the harm that has happened your playing with the devil a horrible drug can you live with your self knowing you took a life you sold it you should get the penalty it sad that you people have a answer for all of this get real

  • Dannielle R Doss

    Wow can I ask how many of you people have ever had an addiction? Seriously its about breaking the law yes but it is more so about the fact that drug addicts need help! I KNOW I USED TO BE A METH ADDICT! That being said until there is some kind of a solution for the problem drugs will continue to be sold and used! Whats the problem well there are many but the biggest one I think is the fact that there are no affordable rehabs. Also high on the issue list is the fact that if you turn to someone and say I need help I am a meth addict suddenly your either arrested or your made to feel like a your a piece of shit! Some say to go to NA which works for some but as for me I was turned off by NA when I walked out to leave and seen someone who had just gotten a 6 month chip buy drugs from someone else at the meeting. I know that the way the economy is right now has alot to do with the issue also. All I am saying is maybe you should think of ways to solve the issue instead of being a dick to one another on here. Just my opinion!
    Signed X-METH ADDICT!
    Clean for 6yrs

  • mark

    Rickieann didn’t you get pick up on a charge to with your aunt I remember u going off on fb giving ur inmate number what did you SNITCH to get out of your charges. To save your own but

    • rickiann

      Well mark u seem to think u no what ur talking about huh…yes I did get charged n yes I did go to jail and I did bail out see what happens is u get charged u go to jail n u have bail and if u can afford it you can get out til court my charges aren’t gone I still have them and are fighting them snitch never theres nothing to snitch about when you dont know whats going on when ur jst a passenger in a car that didnt know a thing! So who would I tell on…..????? I work and go to school and take care of my kid…and yes I did go to jail with the same aunt and cousin that are in the paper do ur research before u came at me with ur ignorance and ill get paperwork n post it on fb since u keep tabs on me on there!!

  • mark

    You keep going off on how your going back tp prison and you didn’t you get arrested with your aunt the same aunt that just got busted on meth position

  • Tessa

    I personally don’t have a drug abuse problem but however i I come from a family that struggles with drug use and my own personal opinion it’s a personal choice to do drugs if u wanna destroy ur self by doing them than knock urself out its their life their the ones living it don’t get me wrong it hurts to see ur parents siblings uncles aunts cousins etc throw their lives away…… but come on now there are being innocent children being molested and murdered everyday investigate that and get them sick Madras off the streets innocent kids are having their innocence taken from them against their with no choice and have to live with it everyday my point being there are far worse people than drug dealers walkin these streets! 

  • Robert

    These laws are passed with the intension of rounding up for FEMA camps and the depopulation agenda. FOLLOW COMMANDMENTS NOT LAWS.

  • De

    I believe that we would stop working against each other and start being there for one another. We can be strong enough to fight for what is right period….We worry about what every one else is doing and forget what matters most, and that is staying alive and having a positive foundation for the new generation….. The government right now is trying to take ALL of our freedoms and honestly they don’t care whether u commit crimes or not they commit crimes all the time….And I am not judging them , its real talk…. We could change the world together and we keep fighting each other. To me that makes no sense. And by the way 50% of drug users and people locked up have some of the biggest hearts I have ever seen.

  • mark

    Why u say that but ur always out at the clubs and stuff so you say all this stuff about u taking care of ur kid did why u get charges with drugs how selfish is that how selfish are you to be going out on weekends going getting drunk and high and yes I know who you are I have been at clubs andpparties were ur at. So. Ya how selfish are you. And ur drug habits.

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