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Multi-state task force smashes drug rings in simultaneous busts

During the raid on cocaine and meth rings, investigators in Denver seized four kilos of heroin, more than one kilo of cocaine, $47K cash, five handguns, two rifles and a car

By Kieran Nicholson
The Denver Post

DENVER — More than 100 police officers early Thursday morning raided two cocaine and methamphetamine trafficking rings, with ties to Denver, New Mexico, Texas and Mexico, based on a federal grand jury indictment.

During the raid investigators in Denver seized four kilos of heroin, 1 ¼ kilo of cocaine, $47,000 cash, five handguns, two rifles — an AK-47 and AR-15 — and a car, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Colorado, news release.

Simultaneous raids were carried out in Mexico, Texas and New Mexico. Multiple arrests were made, including eight suspects each in Denver and Mexico, two in El Paso and one in New Mexico, according to a news release. At least one suspect in Denver is at large.

In January of 2015, the Northern Colorado Drug Task Force began investigating the “Acosta” cocaine trafficking ring, according to a news release. In March of 2017, a Denver strike force “investigated two independent but connected cocaine trafficking organizations.” The organizations “used a common source of supply, shared distributors, and maintained an overlapping customer base.”

Cocaine, from Chihuahua, Mexico, was smuggled into the country along the border of El Paso and Juarez, Mexico. Multi-kilogram shipments of cocaine were then transported to Colorado.

Based on the investigation, a federal grand jury in Denver returned five indictments charging 35 defendants with drug trafficking related crimes. Prior to Thursday, law enforcement had seized about 25 kilograms of cocaine, 25 pounds of methamphetamine and $500,000.

If convicted, defendants face multiple drug trafficking charges with sentencing ranges from 10 years to life and fines up to $10 million. The FBI, DEA and IRS also aided in the investigation.

Multiple federal and local law enforcement agencies participated in Thursday’s raids.