Weld County Drug Ring Smashed
JUN 11 -- DENVER – Jeffrey D. Sweetin, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Denver Field Division, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Troy A. Eid, United States Attorney (USA)for the District of Colorado and the Weld County Drug Task Force, announced that 23 individuals have been named in two separate indictments returned by a federal grand jury on charges of illegal drug distribution in Greeley, Colorado. The indictments are the result of a year-long investigation.
The first indictment was returned on April 8, 2008, charging 15 defendants with 48 counts of illegal drug trafficking. The second indictment was returned on May 6, 2008, charging 8 defendants with 37 counts of illegal drug trafficking. The investigation uncovered a large scale drug trafficking operation in Greeley, Colorado. The indictment alleges that the organization was responsible for the distribution of large amounts of methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana, throughout Northern Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, and South Dakota.
DEA agents and Weld County Drug Task Force officers identified the leaders of the first organization as Jose Felipe Maya-Hernandez, age 40, of Greeley, and Raul Tarciscio Gonzalez Ruiz, age 38, of Greeley. The leaders of the second organization were identified as Jesus Noe Mendoza Ochoa, age 30, of Greeley, Jorge Jacquez Perez, age 33 , of Avon, and Bernardo Rascon-Mendoza, age 34, of Chihuahua, Mexico. These individuals were arrested without incident.
In addition to the arrests, seizures made during the investigation include 15 pounds of methamphetamine, 2 kilos of cocaine, 1013 pounds of marijuana, 10 weapons, $118,651 currency and 4 vehicles valued at more than $62,000. According to investigators, the organization obtained the drugs from Mexico, Texas, Arizona and California. The drugs were transported to Colorado in vehicles equipped with sophisticated hidden compartments.
“Once again we see weapons in the hands of traffickers who distribute drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine – placing the public at risk,” said SAC Sweetin. “The citizens of Colorado and the Weld County area are safer today as a result of this aggressive law enforcement action.”
“Kudos to the DEA and the Weld County Drug Task Force,” said USA Eid.
“We’re proud of the fact that a very far-reaching case started with information developed by members of our drug task force,” said Greeley Police Chief Gerald W. Garner. “We are equally pleased with the results that came from excellent cooperation among local and federal law enforcement organizations. This is the kind of cooperation that should make the drug dealers afraid, and with good cause.”
If convicted, the defendants face not less than 5 years and up to 40 years in federal prison, and up to a $2,000,000 fine.
Other agencies involved in this investigation include: Greeley Police Department, Weld County Sheriff’s Office, Evans Police Department, Front Range Task Force, and the Colorado State Patrol. Multiple DEA offices assisted in the investigation, including offices in Los Angeles, Green Bay, Omaha and Des Moines.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Barrett.
These charges are only allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.