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News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2003

DEA/GRAMNET DISMANTLES DRUG RING
Six Month Investigation Brings Down
Methamphetamine/Cocaine Traffickers

CRAIG, CO - Today, Jeffrey D. Sweetin, Special Agent In Charge of the Rocky Mountain Division, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Chief Walt Vanatta, Craig Police Department and Bonnie Roesink, Colorado 14th Judicial District Attorney announced the culmination of a six month undercover operation with the arrest of seven (7) adults as part of a methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana distribution organization. This organization utilized juveniles in their illegal drug trafficking activities and two (2) juveniles were also arrested in the case that included several search warrants in Craig, Colorado. All arrests occurred without incident today.


A pistol seized as part of the investigation.

"Breaking up this organization will have a significant impact on drug availability in Craig. It underscores our commitment to the citizens we hear from on a daily basis that we will not tolerate illegal drug trafficking in our area," Chief Vanatta said. "It also demonstrates the results that can be achieved when local and federal law enforcement work together to rid our communities of the scourge of drug distribution and abuse. It has proven to be very helpful to have all of our task force officers deputized as DEA agents. Having this federal authority enhances their abilities to investigate these complicated cases. This investigation was initiated based on input and information from citizens in the community." Based on the volume of citizens' complaints that were received, the task force named the operation "Public Outcry". Chief Vanatta said that "Without the willingness of our citizens to become involved, drug enforcement is much more difficult to accomplish."

Over forty (40) officers and federal agents from several counties and police agencies as well as DEA Agents assigned to the Grand, Routt and Moffat Narcotics Enforcement Team (GRAMNET) participated in this morning's enforcement action. SWAT Teams from Craig Police Department/Moffat County Sheriff's Office, Routt County Sheriff's Office and Steamboat Springs Police Department executed three (3) search warrants. The searches produced 4 guns, of which 2 were stolen. During the six month investigation 354 grams (approximately ¾ pound) of methamphetamine, 110 grams (approximately ¼ pound) of cocaine and over 1 pound of marijuana were seized. The seized drugs have an approximate value of $50,000.
"Investigations like this can have a profound impact on quality of life here in Colorado. GRAMNET is a good example of the effectiveness we have when we partner in drug law enforcement," said Special Agent In Charge Sweetin. "To have long-lasting success in ridding drugs from our neighborhoods, our law enforcement efforts need to be combined with input from those communities affected by drug abuse and crime."

The alleged leader of the organization, has been identified as BENITO GOMEZ-MEDRANO, age 37, of Craig, Colorado. He has been charged under Colorado Statutes with Unlawful Distribution of Controlled Substance with the Intent to Sell. He also has an arrest warrant from Oregon for drug charges. A conviction under the Distribution Statute carries a minimum prison sentence of 4 years and a maximum sentence of 16 years, as well as a fine of up to $750,000.

Those arrested are:

BENITO GOMEZ-MEDRANO, age 37 of Craig, Colorado
Charged with C.R.S. 18-18-405 Distribution of a Schedule II Controlled
Substance (Methamphetamine) a Class 3 Felony, Distribution of a Schedule II Controlled Substance (Cocaine) a Class 3 Felony, C.R.S. 18-6-701 Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor, a Class 4 Felony.

ROBERTO LOYA, age 26, of Craig, Colorado
Charged with C.R.S. 18-18-405 Distribution of a Schedule II Controlled Substance (Cocaine) a Class 3 Felony.

LUIS ALCANTAR-BURCIAGA, age 26 of Craig Colorado
Charged with C.R.S. 18-18-405 Distribution of a Schedule II Controlled Substance (Cocaine) a Class 3 Felony.

IGNACIO RODRIGUEZ, age 56 of Craig, Colorado
Charged with C.R.S. 18-18-405 Distribution of a Schedule II Controlled
Substance (Methamphetamine) a Class 3 Felony.

NATHANIEL DOUGLAS, age 24 of Hayden, Colorado
Charged with C.R.S. 18-18-406 Distribution of Marihuana, a Class 4 Felony.

ANTHONY ROSSI, age 22 of Hayden, Colorado
Charged with C.R.S. 18-18-405 Distribution of a Schedule II Controlled
Substance (Methamphetamine) a Class 3 Felony, Distribution of a Schedule II Controlled Substance (Cocaine) a Class 3 Felony.

Two additional Hispanic males were arrested for immigration violations.

The charges are only allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.

This case was investigated by GRAMNET, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Craig Police Department, Moffat County Sheriff's Office, Colorado State Patrol, Steamboat Springs Police Department, Routt County Sheriff's Office, Hayden Police Department, 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office, Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, Immigration and Naturalization Service, El Paso Intelligence Center, State of Oregon Jefferson County District Attorney's Office, Colorado Probation, Colorado Parole. Funds utilized in this investigation were supported in part by grant #22-DB-02-28-7, issued by the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice and the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area funding #I3PRMP600. The case is being prosecuted by the office of the Colorado 14th Judicial District Attorney Bonnie Roesink.

The investigation is continuing and more arrests are expected.

For additional information contact Special Agent Daniel Reuter at the Rocky Mountain Division Office at (303) 705-7384 or Police Chief Walt Vanatta at (970) 826-2360.

 

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