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  1. #1
    Senior Member MyAmerica's Avatar
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    CO-Major West Metro Drug Trafficking Ring Busted

    Major West Metro Drug Trafficking Ring Busted

    Prosecutors Announce Indictments Of 34 Suspect Members

    POSTED: 4:47 am MDT June 30, 2008
    UPDATED: 1:26 pm MDT June 30, 2008

    GOLDEN, Colo. -- Jefferson County law enforcement officials said 34 people have been indicted, accused of being part of a large drug-trafficking ring that brought $4 million worth of cocaine to the metro Denver area each month.

    The massive investigation, by the West Metro Drug Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration, began in September 2007 and ended in April 2008 when the facts of the case were presented to the grand jury.

    At least 13 of the 34 under indictment are believed to be in the United States illegally. Only four of those named in indictments are still at large.

    Some of the indicted live in well-to-do and gated communities in Highlands Ranch and Fort Collins.

    The multi-jurisdictional investigation, dubbed "Operation Shoestring," resulted in the seizure of 13 pounds of cocaine with a street value of $500,000 and 25 pounds of marijuana, with a street value of $10,000.

    Also seized was $500,000 in cash and six handguns.

    According to the investigators, the drug ring brought in 110 pounds of cocaine a month to the Denver metro area.

    It was called "Operation Shoestring" because the departments investigating the case have limited budgets, said District Attorney Scott Storey at a Monday morning news conference.

    "The West Metro Drug Task Force, DEA and our prosecutors did an outstanding job," said Storey. "Their dedication and professionalism made it easy for the grand jury to do their job and help us get these offenders off the street and stop this stream of narcotics into our community."

    "It is a great day. It's a great day because we see a case that affects not only what we usually see -- but we see the pipelines ending in communities where many of us live," said DEA special agent Jeffrey Sweetin.

    According to the indictments, Martin Vega-Beleta was the top level member of the organization. His girlfriend, Norma Yudith Talavera-Espinoza, served as his lieutenant, the indictment alleges.

    Erick Fernando Chaparro-Franco is suspected of being the drug runner, working closely with Vega-Beleta.

    Investigators believe that Martin Vega-Beleta was the source of cocaine, which came from Mexico to the Phoenix area and then to Colorado. Vega-Belata regularly traveled back and forth between Denver and the Phoenix area as part of this drug trafficking ring, according to the indictment. He allegedly transported money and arranged for large amounts of cocaine and marijuana to be delivered to the Denver metro area.

    At the next level of the organization were Sergio Flores-Hernandez, Jaime Esparaza-Arreola, Sergio Munoz-Maltes and Juan Aguilar-Martinez, according to the indictments. They are alleged to have purchased cocaine in kilograms and then distributed it to the people below them. Operating at the next level down, Alejandro Banuelos-Serna and his girlfriend, Mirella DiFranco, Federico Banuelos, and Samuel Martinez. They are accused of having purchased one or more kilograms of cocaine at a time and then sold it by ounces or grams to other distributors and sometimes to the end user.

    The 13 highest-level members of the drug ring were charged with racketeering, a violation of the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act.

    The lower-level people indicted were accused of buying and selling cocaine and marijuana from homes in Westminster, Wheat Ridge, Thornton, Arvada, Aurora, Denver, Fort Collins, Highlands Ranch and unincorporated Jefferson County.

    http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/16 ... etail.html
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Gogo's Avatar
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    Good! I'd like to know how this got started? Was it a neighbor looking at some suspicious things? What?
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  3. #3
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    Two drug ring suspects here illegally
    By David Accomazzo

    Originally published 09:12 p.m., July 2, 2008
    Updated 09:12 p.m., July 2, 2008

    At least two suspects arrested in an alleged cocaine-ring bust in Jefferson County are illegal immigrants with previous arrest records and deportations, records show.

    Sergio Munoz-Maltes, 40, and Sergio Flores-Hernandez, 35, have been previously arrested for various offenses ranging from driving with a suspended driver's licence to possession of drugs with intent to distribute.

    Jefferson County prosecutors announced Monday that a grand jury report indicted 34 people in the alleged cocaine-distribution ring. Thirty are in custody.

    Prosecutors accuse Flores-Hernandez and Munoz-Maltes of being "high-volume dealers" who purchased cocaine in bulk and then distributed it to lower-level dealers within the organization.

    Flores-Hernandez, indicted on 10 counts including money laundering and racketeering, has been deported twice, once in 1997 and again in 2003, said Carl Rusnok, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    Immigration officials deported Munoz-Maltes in 2006. The grand jury indicted Munoz-Maltes on three counts, including racketeering and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

    Authorities in Adams County arrested Munoz-Maltes in 2006 for felony possession of a narcotic with intent to distribute.

    Munoz-Maltes pleaded guilty and was deported shortly after.

    Re-entering the country a second time after being deported for an aggravated felony can carry a penalty of up to 20 years in jail, Rusnok wrote in an e-mail.

    In 2003 Munoz-Maltes pleaded guilty to third-degree assault and was sentenced to 180 days in jail and one year of supervised probation, according to Denver court records.

    Court documents and records from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation indicate at least two outstanding warrants for Munoz-Maltes under the alias Abel Hernandez-Zepeda.

    Both warrants, from September 2006 and November 2006, stem from failures to appear at scheduled court dates.

    Jacki Kelley, a public information officer for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, said the county has not seen an increase in the number of arrests of illegal immigrants.

    Besides, she said, immigration status is a federal issue handled by federal agencies, not by Jeffco deputies.

    "Crime is a crime. We have to investigate each individually," Kelley said.

    Jefferson County's jail refers all foreign-born inmates to ICE, which reviews the inmates' immigration status and then places a detainer on anyone suspected of being in the country illegally.

    ICE then deports illegal immigrants after their sentences have been carried out.

    www.rockymountainnews.com
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Gogo's Avatar
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    So it looks like they were keeping an eye out for these guys since they had been deported previously. I wonder if they have confiscated the homes. Usually when homes, cars, boats, etc are purchased with drug money, those items are confiscated.
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