19-year-old alleged leader of Utah drug group charged with numerous felonies


SALT LAKE CITY — A 19-year-old Salt Lake man who police say is a key player in a “large-scale drug operation” now faces 16 felony charges.

From August 2018 to Sept. 9, 2019, Ntwydamala Christian Cook “acted as a manager or supervisor of at least five employees for the distribution of illegal controlled substances,” according to charging documents.

Cook would order drugs from a “contact in California,” give them to his employees to sell, and then pay the employees while collecting the proceeds from the drug sales, the charges state.

Cook was charged Wednesday in 3rd District Court with being involved in a drug criminal enterprise, a first-degree felony; six counts of drug distribution, a second-degree felony; drug distribution, a third-degree felony; four counts of purchase or possession of a firearm by a restricted person, a third-degree felony; three counts of forgery, a third-degree felony; and production of a controlled substance, a third-degree felony.

He is also accused of selling THC products on Snapchat, and mailing drugs to people in Texas, Michigan and Pennsylvania, the charges state.

Cook was arrested following a yearlong investigation by West Jordan police and federal agents. Money, firearms and drugs were seized as part of the operation. West Jordan police say some of the drugs being sold by Cook were showing up in schools in their city.

A big break in the case came when Cook accepted a friend request on Snapchat from an undercover officer.

“During my investigation, I found Mr. Cook was using various Snapchat accounts and (the) U.S. Postal Service to illegally sell large amounts marijuana, dabs, THC cartridges, THC edibles, cocaine, acid, ecstasy and fraudulent driver’s licenses,” the officer wrote in a Salt Lake County Jail booking report.

“Once Mr. Cook accepted my friend requests, I was able to view his public posts where he openly advertised the illegal sale of the above-listed narcotics and fraudulent driver’s licenses from various states,” according to the report.

On Aug. 31, a search warrant was served on Cook’s apartment where “dozens of THC cartridges, marijuana, LSD, a bottle of oxycodone, two bags of mushrooms, a bag of a white crystal substance, a bag of a red substance, THC edibles, over $11,000 in cash, two AR-15 assault rifles, one loaded Smith & Wesson handgun, ammunition” and more was seized, the report states.

Because of the investigation, law enforcement seized more weapons, including an AK-47, a shotgun and more handguns, according to West Jordan police, as well as approximately $100,000 worth of drugs.

Investigators say Cook has access to a large amount of cash and, with his connections, they fear he will flee the state if released from jail, according to court records. Prosecutors have requested a $250,000 bail.

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