DEA and Partners Announce Colorado Results of Project Deliverance
OCT 20 -- (Colorado Springs) DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Kevin R. Merrill, of DEA’s Rocky Mountain Field Division, joined Fourth Judicial District Attorney Daniel May to announce the arrest of 29 individuals on narcotics-related charges in Colorado and the seizure of more than 13 pounds of cocaine, 30 pounds of methamphetamine, 3.75 pounds of heroin, and over 1.4 million dollars in currency and assets. There are 4 individuals that remain fugitives from justice in this investigation. This investigation was part of a 22-month multi-agency law enforcement investigation known as “Project Deliverance”, which was publicly announced in June of this year.
“This investigation is another example of how major Mexican drug trafficking organization use Colorado as a base of operation for their illegal activities within the United States,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Merrill. “However, the traffickers have again made the wrong decision of operating in our state. Because of that, they will now face justice in U.S. courts.”
In addition to the mentioned arrests and seizures in Colorado that occurred over a two year period, additional leads developed by investigators resulted in other arrests and seizures throughout the United States. Furthermore, the discovery of money laundering methods used by this Mexican drug trafficking organization in Colorado led to a change in Colorado’s law pertaining to money service businesses operating in Colorado.
Nationally, “Project Deliverance” has led to the arrest of 2,278 individuals, and the seizure of $154 million dollars, 1,262 pounds of methamphetamine, 2.5 tons of cocaine, 1,410 pounds of heroin, 69 tons of marijuana, 501 weapons and 527 vehicles during the entire course of the operation.
“Project Deliverance,” targeted the transportation infrastructure of Mexican drug trafficking organizations in the United States, and was initiated based on investigative leads developed by DEA in Colorado Springs, after Carlos Ramon Castro-Rocha, an alleged heroin trafficker who has been designated a Consolidated Priority Organization Target (CPOT), was identified and targeted. A CPOT designation is reserved for significant narcotics traffickers who are believed to be the leaders of drug trafficking organizations responsible for the importation of large quantities of narcotics into the United States. Castro-Rocha was arrested by Mexican authorities on May 30, 2010, based on an arrest warrant from the United States. Castro-Rocha has been indicted in U.S. District Court in the Western District of North Carolina and in U.S. District Court in the District of Arizona on drug trafficking charges, and is pending extradition to the United States.
During the course of this investigation, arrests were made and/or charges have been unsealed related to “Project Deliverance” in the following districts: District of Arizona, Eastern District of California, Southern District of California, District of Colorado, Southern District of Florida, Northern District of Georgia, Northern District of Illinois, District of Maryland, Eastern District of Missouri, District of Montana, District of Nevada, District of New Mexico, Northern District of New York, Southern District of New York, Western District of North Carolina, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Western District of Pennsylvania, Middle District of Tennessee, Southern District of Texas, Western District of Texas, Eastern District of Virginia, and the Western District of Washington. Significant assistance for “Project Deliverance” was provided by the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section and the Office of International Affairs.
The Colorado phase of this investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Metropolitan Vice, Narcotics, and Intelligence Unit, the Colorado Springs Police Department, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, the Pueblo Police Department, the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office, the Colorado State Patrol, and the 4 th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.