Aurora drug dealer pleads guilty to distributing cocaine
DENVER – Robert Bellender, age 39, of Aurora, Colorado, pled guilty earlier this week before U.S. District Court Judge Christine M. Arguello to possession with intent to distribute cocaine and money laundering, federal authorities announced. Judge Arguello is scheduled to sentence Bellender on October 28, 2014. Bellender was originally charged by a criminal complaint on May 10, 2013, followed by a superseding indictment on June 18, 2013. Other defendants charged in the superseding indictment include Korian Bascombe (aka k-Mac), Victor Rivas-Pinzon, Andrew T. Sorensen and Bruce Thomas. Sorensen pled guilty and will be sentenced on August 21, 2014. Rivan-Pinzon and Thomas plead guilty and were sentenced to 42 and 38 months in prison, respectively. Bascombe is scheduled for trial on September 22, 2014.
According to information contained in court documents, including the stipulated facts contained in Bellender’s plea agreement, the investigation started in October of 2011 and continued through the date of Bellender’s arrest on May 28, 2013. Numerous cocaine purchases from Bellender were made by a DEA undercover agent. Through investigative techniques, agents noted that codefendants Thomas, Sorensen and numerous other individuals, both known and unknown, were ordering quantities of powder and crack cocaine from Bellender on numerous occasions.
Bellender’s initial supplier of cocaine stopped distributing to him. At that point, Bellender began to purchase distribution quantities of powder cocaine and crack cocaine from Bascombe who was in turn being supplied with powder cocaine by Rivas-Pinzon. Bellender was selling both forms of cocaine during this entire period. Bellender and Bascombe were converting or “cooking” powder cocaine to convert it into the crack form.
Based on the investigation of the Front Range Task Force, which includes DEA, IRS CI and Aurora PD, from October of 2011 through May of 2013, Bellender and his coconspirators purchased and distributed or sold a conservatively estimated 20 kilograms or more of cocaine and 5 kilograms or more of crack cocaine. Bellender was purchasing cocaine from Bascombe for $1,200 per ounce. Twenty kilograms is the equivalent of approximately 705 ounces.
Bellender pled guilty to ten counts of possession with the intent to distribute cocaine which carries a penalty of not more than 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000 per count; and one count of money laundering, which carries a penalty of not more than 20 years in federal prison, and a fine of up to $500,000 per count.
This case was investigated by agents with the Front Range Task Force which includes the Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS CI) and the Aurora Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James R. Boma.