On Friday, Feb. 17, Moab police arrested local man Christian Langdon Wright, 39, on charges of criminal conspiracy, criminal mischief, possession of a weapon by a restricted person, and three drug-related crimes, including drug possession with intent to distribute.
After an investigation into numerous anti-tourist and anti-UTV stickers appearing around Moab, the Moab Police Department executed a search warrant at a residence located on Minor Court and found thousands of stickers, illegal narcotics, and “five assault rifles, two shotguns and two hunting-type rifles, along with thousands of rounds of ammunition,” according to a City of Moab press release. A charge is merely an accusation and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
Wright is known in the Moab community as a conservation activist, labor historian and river guide who became outspoken over the issue of UTV noise in recent years, including participating in local government meetings and writing letters to the editor published in these pages.
Custom-made anti-UTV and noise pollution stickers began appearing throughout Moab last year and the issue was addressed at a Dec. 6 commission meeting (“Commissioners ask that graffiti stop” Moab Sun News, Dec. 15, 2022). Officials state that the stickers have resulted in over $15,000 in damage to city street signs, particularly after stickers began to be coated with glue to prevent removal.
An extensive booking affidavit specifies that Moab City Police searched Wright’s home specifically for evidence that he was behind the stickers, before finding the weapons and evidence of drugs. Documents show that the police investigation began in June, when he sent violent and alarming messages threatening UTV business owners to then-Grand County Attorney Christina Sloan.
“I will also personally murder the owners of Epic 4×4 with an ax in their homes in front of their families if they do not move their predatory abusive business away from my home by the end of the summer,” Wright allegedly wrote to Sloan via Facebook. “I do not care if I am executed in retaliation for this.”
Police documents show multiple friends and colleagues of Wright reached out to authorities with concerns over Wright’s increasing paranoia. One longtime friend contacted police after she “became aware that Christian’s mental health has deteriorated and she now has very real concerns that Christian is going to hurt someone.”
“I need to reiterate that I have known Christian for almost 20 years, that I loved him and cared about him as a human, and that I seriously believe he is going to hurt or kill someone and/or himself. Christian seems detached from reality,” a statement from the unidentified woman included in the affidavit states.
Interviewed after the weapons were found, Wright’s girlfriend said he told her the weapons “were for self-defense in an ‘apocalypse’ type situation.
Police state that this investigation is ongoing.