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Major Cocaine Trafficking Network Impacting Colorado and the Mountain West United States Dismantled

SEP 27 (DENVER) — Barbra M. Roach, the Special Agent in Charge of the Denver Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), John W. Suthers, Attorney General for the State of Colorado, Daniel J. Oates, Chief of Police of the City of Aurora Police Department, Kumar Kibble, Special Agent in Charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations Denver Office (HSI), James F. Yacone, the Special Agent in Charge of the Denver Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Lilia Ruiz, the acting Special Agent in Charge of the Denver Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Division (IRS CID) announce the dismantlement of an interstate cocaine smuggling network supplying illicit drug distributors in Colorado and the Mountain West.

According to a 23-count Colorado Organized Crime Control Act indictment venued in Denver County, Colorado on September 20, 2012, Gustavo Andrade-Santos, Ascencion Baez-Lopez, Jose Caballero-Martin, Juan Cantu-Bojorquez, Juan Diaz-Ojeda, Simon Diaz-Vera, Ramon Espinoza-Vasquez, Jose Melgoza-Alvarez, Pablo Ivan Morales-Martinez, and Hernan Ojeda-Villalobos were charged with conspiring to traffic cocaine in Colorado. If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison.

Prosecution of the investigation was led by the Colorado Office of the Attorney General. The indictment and arrests announced today were the culmination of a four month collaborative investigation conducted by the Denver Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force, Aurora Police Department, West Metro Drug Task Force, and Northern Colorado Drug Task Force. The investigative component was coordinated by the Denver OCDETF Strike Force. The Denver OCDETF Strike Force is comprised of Special Agents and Task Force Officers from DEA, FBI, HSI, IRS-CID, Aurora Police Department, Colorado State Patrol, Denver Police Department, Fort Collins Police Services, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, and Lakewood Police Department.

Commencing in June 2012, the investigation targeted cocaine distributors dealing cocaine in Aurora, Denver, and Arvada. Investigators soon identified an interstate drug smuggling line moving cocaine from California through Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado. Once the key nodes of the network were uncovered, prosecutors and investigators moved to seize evidence and arrest violators.

On September 11, 2012, the Denver OCDETF Strike Force seized 25 kilograms of cocaine associated with defendants in Los Angeles, California. Investigators believe that a significant quantity of the cocaine seized was intended to be distributed by the ring in Colorado. In addition, investigators seized a Dodge Nitro SUV with a concealed smuggling compartment and approximately $150,000 in drug proceeds believed to have originated from Colorado.

On September 14, 2012, the Colorado investigations team conducted coordinated enforcement operations in Colorado. In Broomfield, Colorado, the Denver OCDETF Strike Force, in partnership with the Broomfield Police Department, arrested Simon Diaz-Vera and conducted a search warrant at his dwelling. In conducting the search warrant, agents seized a quantity of cocaine, a stolen firearm, a Nissan Armada SUV with a concealed smuggling compartment, and approximately $13,000 in drug proceeds. In Fort Collins, the Northern Colorado Drug Task Force arrested Juan Diaz-Ojeda in a traffic stop. Investigators also seized an SUV with a concealed smuggling compartment and seized approximately $8,000 in drug proceeds from Diaz-Ojeda. In Aurora and Denver, the Aurora Police Department Vice & Narcotics Section and the Denver OCDETF Strike Force arrested Hernan Ojeda-Villalobos, Pablo Ivan Morales-Martinez, Gerardo Martinez-Monroy, and Jose Caballero-Martin. In the execution of two search warrants and other lawful searches, investigators seized over 300 grams of cocaine and approximately $9,500 in drug proceeds.

“Cocaine trafficking organizations continue to use Colorado as a transshipment point and a distribution center. By bringing these defendants to justice, the Colorado Attorney General’s Office and our Strike Force have dismantled a significant cocaine supply chain dealing almost 400,000 one gram street dosage units of cocaine per month in Colorado,” said Special Agent in Charge Barbra M. Roach of the DEA Denver Field Division.

"Other aspiring international and interstate drug dealers should take heed that federal and state law enforcement in Colorado is well organized, cooperative, and effective," said Colorado Attorney General John Suthers. “This indictment is an excellent example of how Colorado’s law enforcement community bands together to dismantle criminal enterprises and keep drugs off our streets.”

“This is a great day for Colorado Law Enforcement and it’s a great day for the citizens of Colorado,” said Chief Daniel J. Oates of the City of Aurora Police Department. “The targets of this investigation are dangerous criminals who were preying on our citizens in the streets of Colorado. I’d like to express my thanks to our federal, state, and local partners for their support and help with this investigation. Because of their efforts, our citizens are going to be that much safer.”

The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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