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Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Colorado

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Denver Man Convicted Of Large-Scale Cocaine Trafficking

DENVER – Michael Benitez-Lopez, aka “Mikey” aka “Money Mike”, age 36 of Denver, Colorado, was found guilty late Friday, August 9, 2019, on one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, one count of cocaine distribution, and one count of use of a telephone in furtherance of drug trafficking. 

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, from March 2017, through April 1, 2018, Benitez-Lopez received multiple kilograms of cocaine as part of a large scale drug trafficking organization that was responsible for the importation of more than 200 kilograms of cocaine during the course of the conspiracy.  The defendant then sold multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine to lower level dealers throughout Metro Denver.

“Cocaine continues to be a serious problem in Metro Denver and in Colorado,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn.  “Working with the DEA and other law enforcement partners, we are targeting these large-scale traffickers and their networks.  Getting Mr. Benitez-Lopez off the streets and in prison for at least 10 years sends a strong signal to like-minded criminals that we will seek lengthy sentences for traffickers that try to use Colorado as a base to pedal their poison.”

“The DEA continues to see an increase in the distribution and abuse of cocaine along the Front Range,” said Special Agent in Charge of DEA’s Denver Division William McDermott.  “The investigation and prosecution of Mr. Benitez-Lopez on serious cocaine distribution charges is indicative of DEA’s commitment to work with the U.S. Attorney and law enforcement partners, and prioritize investigative resources towards dismantling the most significant illicit drug networks operating in Colorado. “

Benitez-Lopez faces not less than 10 years, and up to life in federal prison.

The trial lasted three days before Chief U.S. District Court Judge Philip A. Brimmer.  The jury deliberated for two hours before reaching their guilty verdicts.  Benitez-Lopez is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Brimmer on November 1, 2019.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration.  The defendant was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephanie Podolak and Zachary Phillips. 

CASE NUMBER:           18-cr-00328

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Updated August 14, 2019