Oct. 17 (UPI) -- Federal prosecutors in Utah announced the arrests of 21 alleged drug ring members tied to Utah white supremacy gangs.
Prosecutors unsealed 15 indictments Friday after a months-long federal investigation of prison-related groups calling themselves the Soldiers of Aryan Culture, Silent Aryan Warriors and Noble Elect Thugs.
Members allegedly operated a ring trafficking methamphetamine and guns.
Undercover agents purchased 1.65 pounds of illegal meth and recovered 15 firearms as part of the investigation, officials said.
The investigation began in June 2019 with the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms teaming up with two local gang units to target drug- and gun-trafficking activities in Utah.
In a Wednesday sting, multiple law enforcement agencies in Ogden and Salt Lake City arrested 11 members of the group, which included suspects with nicknames such as "Hollywood," "Bones," Special K", "Cheeto" and "Hymie Sativa." The other 10 members were already in custody, serving time in prison.
One gang, the Soldiers of Aryan Culture, started in the Utah State Prison in the 1990s and has spread to other prison systems across the country, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups.
Defendants face charges of distribution of methamphetamine, possession of a firearm by a felon, and possession of a firearm during a narcotics trafficking offense. If convicted, some defendants could have their statutory maximum sentences doubled because of past criminal convictions.