ATF makes multiple arrests of defendants possessing and distributing methamphetamine -- over 54 firearms and 9,000 rounds of ammunition seized
DENVER – One May 9, 2012, a federal grand jury in Denver returned an indictment charging three defendants with conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, U.S. Attorney John Walsh and ATF Special Agent in Charge Marvin Richardson announced today. One defendant, Andrew Aldridge, age 31, of Denver, appeared in U.S. District Court in Denver yesterday, where he was advised of the charges pending against him, and the penalties associated with those charges. Another defendant, Robert Blankenship, age 47, of Lakewood, is currently in state custody. A writ will be issued to have him transferred from state custody to federal custody. A third defendant is a fugitive. This indictment is a continuation of an investigation that started approximately one year ago, and involves the arrest and prosecution of over a dozen defendants, six of which are being prosecuted federally, and the remainder of which are being prosecuted in state court.
The first federal defendant indicted as a result of this investigation is Conard Kern, age 26, of Lakewood. Kern was charged with violations of federal firearm laws by Criminal Complaint on August 25, 2011. Kern pled guilty on April 19, 2012, and is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge William J. Martinez July 3, 2012.
The investigation continued with the federal indictment of David Gregory Dewitt, age 36, of Lakewood, and Alexandra White, age 24, of Lakewood, on drug and gun charges. Dewitt and White were indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on January 26, 2012. The cases against both defendants is pending, with a trial tentatively scheduled for August 6, 2012.
According to the most recent federal indictment, from May 2011 through June 2011 three defendants did knowingly and intentionally conspire to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine. Further, on two occasions two of the defendants did knowingly and unlawfully distribute 5 grams or more of methamphetamine. On a third occasion the two defendants did knowingly and unlawfully distribute 5 grams or more of methamphetamine and 50 grams or more of a mixture containing methamphetamine.
The indictment includes an asset forfeiture allegation, which states that the defendants shall forfeit to the United States any and all property constituting or derived from proceeds the defendants obtained directly or indirectly as a result of the violations listed above.
In total agents and officers seized 54 firearms, 7 of which had obliterated serial numbers, and one of which was a fully automatic machine gun, one silencer, one ballistic vest, over 9,000 rounds of ammunition, over 19 ounces of cocaine, and over 20 ounces of methamphetamine.
Those charged either in federal or state court include:
Gregory DEWITT, age 36, Lakewood, CO
Alexandra WHITE, age 24, Lakewood, CO
Toby SOLANO, age 23, Denver, CO
Carlos CEPEDA, age 21, Denver, CO
Daniel LUJAN, age 29, Denver, CO
Shaun GUTIERREZ, age 27, Denver, CO
Roger LUJAN, age 28, Denver, CO
Bobby MINGO, age 51, Denver, CO
Larry YBARRA, age 20, Denver, CO
Conard KERN, age 26, Denver, CO
David ANDERSON, age 24, Denver, CO
Lyndon MOSSMAN, age 24, Denver, CO
Abel VILLALPANDO, age 25, Denver, CO
Robert BLANKENSHIP, age 47, Englewood, CO
Andrew ALDRIDGE, age 31, Denver, CO
Plus one additional fugitive
“Thanks to the hard work of the ATF and their key local partners, the Lakewood, Denver and Aurora Police Department Gang Units, these defendants accused of being drug dealers are now facing the criminal justice system to be held accountable for their actions,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.
“ATF will aggressively pursue these violent criminals that occupy our communities and we will continue to work with Lakewood, Denver and the Aurora Police Departments to ensure that the criminals will be held accountable,” said Marvin Richardson, Special Agent in Charge, ATF, Denver Field Division. “The core mission of the ATF is to eradicate violent crime by working with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute those who criminally use firearms and the gangs that promote violence and menace in our communities.”
“The federal, state, and local law enforcement partnerships that we have were created to combat this very type of dangerous criminal element,” said Lakewood Police Chief Kevin Paletta. “Taking these suspects and weapons off the streets of our community makes us all safer. There’s no telling what violent crimes were prevented as a result of these indictments.”
If convicted, the defendants recently indicted face maximum penalties of not less than 10 years and up to life in federal prison, and fines of not more than $10,000,000.
This case was investigate by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Lakewood Police Department (SET Unit), the Denver Police Department (Gang Unit) and the Aurora Police Department (Gang Unit). Local defendants were prosecuted by the Denver District Attorney’s Office and the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office.
The defendants are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Skalla.
The charges contained in the indictment are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.