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Press Release

Denver Man Sentenced to 17 Years in Prison for Violent Armed Robberies

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado

DENVER - The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announces the Dionte Jelks, age 22, of Denver, was sentenced to 17 years in federal prison for armed robbery and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.

According to the plea agreement, from January 11, 2021, through February 11, 2021, the defendant participated with his co-defendants in takeover style robberies of pharmacies in Denver and Aurora. The defendant's role for each robbery was to jump pharmacy counters and aid in the robbery of pharmacists at gunpoint. The defendant would yell at pharmacy employees to get them to give him the drugs. In one robbery, he forced the employees to lie face down on the ground and in others he followed the employees around the pharmacy, demanding controlled substances. During the January 25, 2021, robbery, the defendant threatened to shoot an employee. After the robberies on January 15, 2021, and January 25, 2021, the defendant used social media to sell the controlled substances taken from the pharmacy during the robbery. He sent a Facebook friend a picture of Oxycodone and Alprazolam pills, followed by a video, as proof that the stolen pills were not fake. The defendants only stopped their armed robberies when they were disrupted by law enforcement on February 11, 2021.

Judge R. Brooke Jackson sentenced the defendant on March 9, 2023.

“The defendant’s aggressive and violent actions will forever impact the victims of these robberies. No one should fear that they will be shot and killed simply because they showed up for work,” said United States Attorney Cole Finegan. “This sentence should send a clear message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.”

"ATF and local law enforcement successfully disrupted this violent string of armed robberies,” said Acting ATF Special Agent in Charge Kirk Howard. “We are hopeful this 17-year sentence in federal prison will serve as a deterrent to those who might choose to bring violence to our communities.”

“The Denver Police Department thanks our partners for their roles in holding Mr. Jelks and other violent criminals accountable for their dangerous crimes,” said Denver Police Chief Ron Thomas. “We hope this arrest, conviction, and sentencing demonstrate to our community that gun violence and drug crimes are not tolerated.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Denver Division investigated this case, with assistance from the Denver Police Department and the Aurora Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Celeste Rangel handled the prosecution.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

CASE NUMBER: 21-cr-00140


Deborah Takahara
Public Affairs Specialist

Updated March 13, 2023