This Utah City Has Been Named the Drug Trafficking Capital of the State


Utah is known for its beautiful scenery, religious history, and nice people. But it also has a bad side: drug crime and abuse are getting worse. According to a new study from the White House, St. George is the place in the state where the most drugs are sold.

St. George: A Drug Gateway

St. George is a city of around 90,000 inhabitants in southwest Utah, near the borders of Arizona and Nevada. It is a popular tourist, retiree, and outdoor enthusiast destination because of its temperate temperature, gorgeous scenery, and closeness to national parks.

However, it also serves as a vital site for drug traffickers, who utilize its roads and interstates to carry narcotics from Mexico and California to other areas of the country.

St. George is part of “America’s main fentanyl artery,” a network of roadways that connects Los Angeles to most of the country, according to The Washington Post.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more strong than heroin and, in tiny amounts, may be deadly. It is frequently blended with other drugs to improve its strength and profitability, such as methamphetamine, cocaine, and counterfeit medications.

According to the state health department, fentanyl overdose deaths in Utah have climbed 300% in the last three years, killing 170 people by 2021. St. George has been particularly severely impacted by the fentanyl problem, as well as a boom in methamphetamine, both of which are supplied by Mexican gangs.

Operation Sour Cream: A Significant Failure

Federal law enforcement officials initiated a significant investigation known as “Operation Sour Cream” in 2021, targeting the drug trafficking network based in St. George.

The moniker originated from the traffickers’ covert operation: they concealed their illicit substances within 5-pound containers of sour cream, which they subsequently distributed to clientele within the urban area.

Angel Rubio Quintana, a 41-year-old male who had been deported to Mexico years prior but subsequently returned to St. George, was apprehended as a result of the investigation. He presided over a cell that operated on behalf of the Sinaloa cartel, an internationally renowned criminal organization renowned for its extreme violence.

Subsequently, he and his associates would transport the narcotics from California to southern Utah after ordering them in Mexico, and remit the proceeds via wire transfer to Mexico. Rubio Quintana pled guilty to charges of money laundering and trafficking in fentanyl, methamphetamine, and marijuana.

His sentencing is pending, and it has the potential to carry a life sentence. Although his apprehension dealt a substantial setback to the St. George drug trafficking operation, it did not spell its demise. “There are perpetually more sour cream tubs on the road,” as stated in The Post.


Drug crime is on the rise in the beautiful city of St. George, Utah, which is a major hub for the illegal drug trade in the country. A new report from the White House says that St. George is a major source of drug sales, especially fentanyl, a synthetic painkiller that can kill.

Even though the federal government has launched operations like “Operation Sour Cream” to break up drug trafficking networks, the city is still a major hub for drugs. This makes things harder for law enforcement and shows how urgently Utah needs comprehensive answers to stop its drug problem.

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