On August 22, burglars entered the police department office in Blanding through a rear window. A power grinder was used to breach a metal door and access the evidence room.
Investigators estimate that the break-in occurred in 15 minutes or less. Other rooms in the building were not entered.
Approximately 46 pounds of marijuana, nine handguns, a cell phone and a small amount of peyote were taken from the evidence room. Officials state that all of the items removed from evidence were from cases that have been adjudicated.
The San Juan County Sheriff’s office is handling the investigation.
On August 25, a Utah Highway Patrol trooper stopped a vehicle in the Salt Lake valley and found a handgun and three pounds of marijuana in the possession of two individuals. After making an arrest, investigators discovered that one of the guns was from the Blanding break-in.
The State Bureau of Investigations followed up with the investigation, which resulted in a search in Enoch, UT. An additional six individuals have been arrested. In addition, an estimated 30 pounds of marijuana and ten more guns were recovered (including some that were not stolen from the Blanding Police Department).
Charges are pending in San Juan, Salt Lake and Iron counties.
Blanding City Police Chief Lyle Bayles said the investigation has required the efforts of multiple police agencies, including federal, state, and local officers.
Bayles said the department is grateful for the unified effort and for the rapid professional manner in which the case was handled.