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Press Release

Colorado Men Charged with Meth and Gun Crimes

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

United States Attorney Ron Parsons announced that two Colorado Springs, Colorado, men were charged in federal district court with Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance and Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person.

Billy Torrez, age 23, and Joshua Cruz, age 29, were indicted by a federal grand jury on December 4, 2018. Torrez and Cruz appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daneta Wollmann and pleaded not guilty to the charges.  The penalty upon conviction is a minimum of 5 years up to 40 years in federal prison and/or a $5,000,000 fine, a minimum of 4 years up to lifetime supervised release, and a $100 assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.

The charges relate to Torrez and Cruz being found in possession of methamphetamine, heroin, and three guns in Rapid City on November 21, 2018.  After attempting to flee in a vehicle, they were quickly apprehended by the Rapid City Police Department.  The charges are merely accusations and Torrez and Cruz are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. 

Drug trafficking is an inherently violent activity.  Firearms are tools of the trade for drug dealers.  It is common to find drug traffickers armed with guns in order to protect their illegal drug product and cash, and enforce their illegal operations.

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 make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of its renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and local communities to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

The investigation is being conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Rapid City Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Ben Patterson is prosecuting the case.

Torrez and Cruz were detained pending trial.  A trial date has not been set.

Updated December 14, 2018

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods