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News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 24, 2005

Local Drug Trafficking Organization
Dismantled in Colorado Springs
25 Arrested During Roundup Over the Weekend

pic-ASAC Kevin Merrill is at the podium. From left to right are: Colorado Springs Police Chief Luis Velez,El Paso County District Attorney John Newsome,Acting US Attorney for the District of Colorado Bill Leone ASAC Kevin Merrill, Pueblo Police Department Captain Ron Holderman
ASAC Kevin Merrill is at the podium. From left to right are: Colorado Springs Police Chief Luis Velez,
El Paso County District Attorney John Newsome,
Acting US Attorney for the District of Colorado Bill Leone, ASAC Kevin Merrill, Pueblo Police Department Captain Ron Holderman

MAY 24-- Colorado Springs, CO- Bill Leone, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Colorado, Jeffrey D. Sweetin, Special Agent in Charge of the Rocky Mountain Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), John R. Newsome, El Paso County District Attorney, and Chief Luis Velez of the Colorado Springs Police Department today announced that a Colorado Springs based organization trafficking in methamphetamine, cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, and marijuana has been dismantled. The investigation into the Tovar Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) began 14 months ago and culminated on Friday, May 20 th with the arrest of 15 on Federal charges, seven on state charges, and the service of eight state search warrants.

In early March 2004, the DEA Colorado Springs Resident Office Task Force initiated an investigation of the Tovar DTO. This investigation focuses on the narcotic activities of the Tovar DTO; a family-run criminal organization based in Colorado Springs, CO. The Tovar DTO is responsible for the distribution of multi-pound quantities of high quality methamphetamine, commonly referred to as “ice”, to customers in Colorado Springs. During the course of the investigation, Agents determined the Tovar DTO was one of the most organized and powerful methamphetamine organization operating in Colorado Springs.

In May 2005, two multi-count federal indictments against 18 individuals were returned by the Federal Grand Jury in the District of Colorado. On May 20, 2005, law enforcement initiated an operation that resulted in the arrest of 15 of the 18 individuals indicted federally, the arrest of eight individuals on state charges, the service of eight state search warrants. Those search warrants resulted in the seizure of approximately three pounds of methamphetamine “ice”, one pound of cocaine, and $28,000 in cash.

Including Friday’s enforcement action, 22.93 pounds of methamphetamine “ice”, 5.29 pounds of cocaine, 9.57 pounds of marijuana, and 500 marijuana plants were seized. Thirteen handguns, 2 shotguns, and 2 assault weapons were confiscated. Four vehicles are being forfeited and $43,239 in cash was seized. The street value of the methamphetamine “ice” seized is approximately $4 million dollars. The street value of the cocaine seized is approximately $240,000. The total marijuana seized has an approximate street value of $520,000.

Jeffrey D. Sweetin, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Rocky Mountain Division said, “The Tovar organization has been a thorn in the side of Colorado Springs law enforcement. Today we can be confident that there is less methamphetamine on our streets and The Tovar organization has been dismantled.”

The following organizations assisted in the successful conclusion of this investigation:

Colorado Springs Police Department, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, Woodland Park Police Department, Fountain Police Department, Teller County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado State Patrol, Pueblo Police Department, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado, the El Paso District Attorney’s Office, and the DEA Colorado Springs Resident Office.

The defendants indicted federally are charged with various drug trafficking crimes. Depending on the charge and the amount of drugs the defendants are alleged to have trafficked, they face prison terms of anywhere from five years to life and fines ranging from $250,000 to $4,000,000.

The following defendants have been charged federally:

1. Heriberto Tovar-Cordova, aka "Eddie", 39 years old, resident of Colorado Springs.

2. Marco Antonio Barrera, aka "Chapo", 21 years old, resident of Colorado Springs.

3. Juan Luis Tovar-Rodriguez, 19 years old, aka "Kali", aka "Kaliche, resident of Colorado Springs.

4. Omar Tovar, aka Manuel Hernandez-Ruiz, 29 years old, resident of Colorado Springs.

5. Ramon Duran-Solis, aka "Chakurras", 24 years old, resident of Colorado Springs.

6. Jose Guadalupe Cordoba-Murillo, aka "Chila", 24 years old, resident of Colorado Springs.

7. Daniel Ocampo-Rojas, aka "Marco Antonio Orasco-Zauceda", 23 years old, resident of Colorado Springs.

8. Miguel Benigno Rivero-Sauri, 28 years old, resident of Colorado Springs.

9. Oscar Acosta-Lopez, 24 years old, resident of Colorado Springs.

10. Tammi Aragon, 45 years old, resident of Colorado Springs.

11. Latricia Mitchem, aka "Latricia Mithcell", aka "Chucha", 22 years old, resident of Colorado Springs.

12. Julio Nunez-Renteria, aka Julio Ortiz, 27 years old, resident of Colorado Springs.

13. Nazario Tovar-Rodriguez, aka "Chayo", 22 years old, resident of Colorado Springs.

14. Jesus Alberto Villar-Gonzalez, aka " Beto", 24 years old, resident of Colorado Springs.

15. Kathleen Elizabeth Ranals, aka "Katie", 19 years old, resident of Colorado Springs.

District Attorney John R. Newsome stated, “This represents a new era of inter-agency cooperation targetig the methamphetamine problem that is plaguing the citizens of Colorado Springs.”

The defendants being prosecuted by the El Paso District Attorney’s Office are charged with various drug trafficking crimes. Depending on the charge and the amount of drugs the defendants are alleged to have trafficked, they face between four - six years in prison and fines from $3,000 to $750,000.

The following defendants are being charged by the El Paso District Attorney’s office:

1. Reina Isabella Talamantes, 24 years old, resident of Colorado Springs.

2. Julio Cesar Rodgiguez-Chulim, 24 years old, resident of Colorado Springs.

3. Hugo Villagran-Tovar, 22 years old, resident of Colorado Springs.

4. Jose Barajos-Martinez, 21 years old, resident of Colorado Springs.

5. Rebecca Tovar-Martinez, 31 years old, resident of Colorado Springs.

6. Juan Arrellano-Martinez, 24 years old, resident of Colorado Springs.

7. Yuriana Mayo Quitero, 21 years old, resident of Colorado Springs.

8. A 17 year old juvenile of Colorado Springs.

Demetrio Salazar-Isiordia, aka "Guero", Juan Manuel Tovar-Ramirez aka “Chilingue”

are DEA fugitives. Joseph Bright has yet to be arrested pursuant to a federal indictment. Any information regarding the whereabouts of these individuals should be directed to the DEA Colorado Springs Resident Office at (719) 866-6100.

The charges are only allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty. For more information please contact U.S. Attorney’s Office Public Affairs Officer Jeffrey Dorschner at (303) 454-0243, El Paso District Attorney’s Office Lisa Kirkman at (719) 520-6175, or Special Agent Karen Flowers at (303) 705-7351.

 

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