DEA and El Paso County District Attorney Team Up
NOV 1 - Denver- Today, Jeffrey D. Sweetin, Special Agent in Charge of the Denver Field Division, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) along with El Paso County District Attorney John R. Newsome announced the arrest of eight defendants, the seizure of 14 kilograms of cocaine, approximately a kilogram of methamphetamine “ice”, three loaded guns, and two vehicles. The arrests and seizures are the result of an undercover operation spearheaded by the DEA Southern Colorado Drug Task Force and the El Paso County District Attorney’s Office on Sunday, October 30, 2005.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey D. Sweetin stated that, “the culmination of this investigation was a success due to the cohesive teamwork of the DEA Southern Colorado Drug Task Force and the El Paso County District Attorney’s Office. By approaching drug investigations with all of the tools available, law enforcement and judicial, Colorado Springs and Colorado will continue to hear about the success of the DEA Southern Colorado Drug Task Force. The Colorado Springs community will continue to see and feel its positive impact on the quality of life in Colorado Springs.”
On October 30, 2005, seven of the defendants were placed under arrest following the delivery of 14 kilograms of cocaine and approximately 1 kilogram of methamphetamine “ice” to undercover agents. The delivery was made in a brown Ford van occupied by four individuals at a parking lot located at 1630 E. Cheyenne Boulevard, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Jose Ramirez Leyva and Flavio Barrera Cruz were arrested at the scene and Juan Carlos Partida-Lopez and Carlos Gonzalez Camacho fled the area of the van when law enforcement approached. Both Juan Partida-Lopez and Carlos Gonzalez Camacho were apprehended in a nearby hotel parking lot a short time later.
El Paso County District Attorney John R. Newsome stated that “This is the biggest undercover drug bust in the city of Colorado Springs in recent memory. This would not have occurred without the joint cooperation of the Drug Enforcement Administration Colorado Springs Resident Office State and Local Task Force and the Office of the District Attorney.”
Law enforcement identified another vehicle in the vicinity which appeared to be providing protection for the drugs and the four above listed defendants. The vehicle, a green Chevrolet Tahoe left the area when law enforcement approached the van. The Tahoe was later located at a nearby business and law enforcement observed three individuals enter a store. Law enforcement contacted the three individuals, identified as Jesus Octavio Gomez, Francisco Javier Estrella, and Jorge Montano Deiniz. All 3 were placed under arrest and a subsequent search of the Tahoe resulted in the seizure of a Raven .25 automatic and a Makarov .9mm pistol. Both handguns were fully loaded and had a round in the chamber.
The third handgun seized was found and turned in by a Colorado Springs citizen when they saw the gun underneath their vehicle. The Springfield Armory .45 caliber automatic handgun was found in the vicinity of where Carlos Gonzalez Camacho and Juan Carlos Partida-Lopez were apprehended after fleeing on foot from law enforcement. The .45 was also fully loaded and had a round chambered.
The eighth defendant arrested on October 30th, Veronica Ramirez, was taken into custody later that day without incident. Veronica Ramirez was not present at the undercover transaction; however, she and Jose Ramirez Leyva delivered a kilogram of cocaine to an undercover agent this past August.
The eight defendants are being charged in Colorado State District Court with at least one count of Distribution of Schedule II Controlled Substance (cocaine) and at least one count of Distribution of Schedule II Controlled Substance (methamphetamine). If convicted, and found guilty of the statutory aggravator regarding the amount of drugs, they each face a minimum of 12 years in prison and can be sentenced to a maximum of 24 years in prison.
The defendants had their first appearance in Colorado State District Court and Judge James Patterson set bond in the amount of $500,000 on each defendant. The next court appearance for the defendants is on November 8, 2005.
The defendants are presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
District Attorney (DA) Newsome also announced today that a special prosecutor will be assigned to the DEA Colorado Springs Drug Task Force. “This is a new approach for the DA’s Office,” said DA Newsome. “While we have always worked with the DEA, this is the first time that we have dedicated talent to be used in the enforcement of major drug prosecutions.” DA Newsome further stated that, “The undercover drug bust from Sunday is a clear example of how the Office of the District Attorney can effectively work with the DEA Task Force.” DA Newsome also sent a strong message to drug traffickers. “Illegal drug trade negatively affects our community. The message must be clear: The law requires prison if you distribute major quantities of drugs. If you distribute major quantities, you need to be ready to go to prison. My office will prosecute you to the full extent of the law,” conclude DA Newsome.
The DEA Southern Colorado Drug Task Force is comprised of the Colorado Springs Police Department, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, the Pueblo Police Department, the Colorado State Patrol, and the El Paso County District Attorney’s Office.For further information, please contact DEA Denver Field Division Public Information Officer Special Agent Karen Flowers at (303) 705-7351 or Lisa Kirkman, Chief Trial Deputy, El Paso County District Attorney’s Office at (719) 520-6000.