Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Prosecutors: Casino 'high rollers' from Sandy gambled $346,000 in drug money
Crime » Sandy couple charged with money laundering and felony tax evasion.
First Published Feb 21 2013 08:52 am • Last Updated Feb 21 2013 09:24 am

A pair of well-known West Wendover casino "high rollers" from Sandy, who spent more than $384,000 at a Nevada casino over two years, were actually gambling proceeds generated from an illegal drug operation, according to documents filed Wednesday in 3rd District Court.

Robert Thomas Rust, 33, and his wife, Susana Montano Rust, 39, are charged in 3rd District Court with one count each of second-degree felony money laundering and third-degree felony tax evasion.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

A $10,000 arrest warrant has been issued for each defendant.

The Rusts allegedly used slot machines at the Wendover Nugget Hotel and Casino to launder about $384,569 in unexplained funds, according to charging documents.

Authorities claim the pair would drive their ill-gotten gains — believed to have been accumulated by operating a methamphetamine ring in Sandy — across the Nevada border to turn the cash into casino receipts, according to the charging documents.

Scott Reed, division chief of the AG’s Criminal Justice Division, said running criminal proceeds through a casino and then claiming the results as "gambling winnings," which are taxable income, has always been a common method used in laundering money.

During January 2012 alone, investigators said Robert Rust spent up to $150,000 at the casino, and his wife frequently traveled with him.

Charging documents show there was no way the couple could have had so much legitimate money to burn. Robert Rust reported on his federal and state taxes that he worked at Panda Express making $18,796.87 a year, and Susana Rust worked at Jani-King making $8,113.45 a year, according to charging documents.

In addition to the casino funds, the two also had $121,811 in cash deposits from an unknown income source, and tens of thousands of dollars in cash moving in and out of various bank accounts, investigators allege.

Prosecutors said the couple also laundered additional funds by spending $36,000 in cash for two vehicles — including a Hummer for Robert Rust — up to $4,000 a month on shopping trips for Susana Rust, and up to $1,000 a month on clothing and jewelry for the pair.

story continues below
story continues below

Authorities allege Robert Rust was dealing methamphetamine and his wife was aware of it. Neither has been charged with any drug counts.

Police said they conducted surveillance on the Rust home during which they noticed a lot of traffic coming and going. And police busted for drugs a confidential informant, who told them Rust was the distributor, according to charges. Investigators also stopped two other vehicles leaving the Rusts’ home and found distribution-type quantities of meth both times, according to charges.

When police searched Robert Rust’s Hummer, they found "owe sheets" detailing tens of thousands of dollars in transactions. Inside the Rusts’ home, were guns, scales, $8,774 in cash and numerous receipts for "substantial" amounts of money from various Nevada casinos.

Police also studied Western Union money transfers sent to Robert Rust from individuals with drug-related arrests from cities throughout Nevada.

According to court documents, the Utah Attorney General’s Office is seeking to seize $37,154.37 and the Hummer, which they allege are proceeds from the unlawful drug distribution and are currently being stored at the West Valley Police Department.


Twitter: @sltribjanelle

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.