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News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 7, 2004

Northern Colorado Cocaine and Methamphetamine Organization Dismantled
"Operation Coca Colo"

GREELEY - John Suthers, 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), Lt. Steve Nelson, Commander, Weld County Drug Task Force, and Lt. Craig Dodd, Commander, Larimer County Drug Task Force, announced that 8 people have been arrested this morning following over a year long investigation into cocaine and methamphetamine trafficking in Weld and Larimer Counties.

In connection with the investigation, DEA agents, Weld and Larimer County Drug Task Forces officers, and other law enforcement personnel executed 8 search warrants at residences in Greeley, Milliken and Johnstown. During the course of the investigation, 2 pounds of methamphetamine and 2 kilograms of cocaine, with a total street value of $50,000, was seized. Approximately $14,900 in cash was also confiscated.

According to the affidavit in support of arrest warrants, quantities of cocaine and methamphetamine came to Northern Colorado from Phoenix, Arizona, and southern California. The drugs were often transported concealed inside vehicles, usually inside dashboards and tires. The drugs were then removed for further distribution.

Those arrested today were:

JORGE CORONA, age 26, of Greeley, Colorado
RAUL BELTRAN-FRANCO, age 30, of Milliken, Colorado
ADRIAN GAONA, age 35, of Milliken, Colorado
SULEMA GUERRERO-ONTIVEROS, age 23, of Greeley, Colorado
MARIBEL GARCIA, age 21, of Greeley, Colorado
HUMBERTO MARTINEZ, age 24, of Greeley, Colorado
RAMON QUINTANA, age 33, of Johnstown, Colorado
RAFAEL SAENZ-ORTIZ, age 40, of Milliken, Colorado

Authorities are seeking the following fugitives:

ARTEMIO VIDANA-SEPULVEDA, age 22, of Greeley, Colorado
LUIS ALBERTO FLORES, age 25, of Milliken, Colorado
HECTOR VIDANA-SEPULVEDA, age 25, of Greeley, Colorado
DANIEL TALAMANTES, age 24, of Mesa, Arizona

“Combining local leads with federal resources allows us to identify and dismantle illegal drug distribution enterprises,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Sweetin. “I’d like to commend the efforts of both the Weld County and Larimer County Drug Task Forces who work with the DEA do diligently to serve their respective communities to rid them of illegal drugs.”

“Today’s operation is proof that by pooling local and federal resources we can have a significant impact on drug trafficking organizations operating in Northern Colorado,” said Lt. Craig Dodd, Commander of the Larimer County Drug Task Force. “This case is indicative that drug dealers do not operate within jurisdictional boundaries and therefore we must continue to work together by sharing information and resources and by implementing creative strategies to be successful.”

“This investigation is an example of the need for a cooperative effort between local agencies, task forces, and federal agencies to impact drug trafficking organizations in our communities and throughout the United States,” said Lt. Steve Nelson, Commander of the Weld County Drug Task Force.

This case was investigated by the Weld and Larimer County Drug Task Forces, in connection with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The Weld County Drug Task Force is comprised of the Greeley Police Department, the Evans Police Department, and the Weld County Sheriff’s Office. The Larimer County Drug Task Force is comprised of the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, the Loveland Police Department, the Fort Collins Police Department, the Colorado State University Police, the Colorado National Guard and the Colorado 8th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. The Longmont Police Department has also assisted with this investigation.

All defendants are charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, which carries a penalty of not less than 5 years and not more than 40 years in federal prison, and/or a $2,000,000 fine. The defendants are also charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine, which carries a penalty of not less than 10 years and up to life in federal prison, and/or a $4,000,000 fine.

The defendants have been charged by Criminal Complaint, which is a probable cause charging document. All defendants have the right to be indicted by a federal grand jury. The investigation into drug trafficking in Northern Colorado is ongoing.

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

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Visit <http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/co>

For more information contact: Jeff Dorschner 303-454-0243 or Dan Reuter (DEA) at 303-705-7384

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