FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: DEA Public Affairs
DRUG INVESTIGATION PAYS OFF
1.5 Million in illegal drug assets given to investigating agencies
Today, Jeffrey D. Sweetin, Special Agent in Charge of the Denver Field
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced the distribution
of approximately $1.5 million of asset sharing checks to 14 federal,
state, and local law enforcement agencies. The sharing checks are a result
of the culmination of Operation Choque, an international drug
investigation led by the DEA Colorado Springs Resident Office. Operation
in November 2002 and culminated in October 2004. Two years of diligence,
dedication, and hard work gleaned approximately $11.3 million in U.S.
currency and other assets, 2,300 kilograms of cocaine, and 60 arrests
In the District of Colorado, 29 individuals have been indicted for their participation
in Operation Choque. All 29 have been charged with cocaine importation, distribution,
conspiracy, and money laundering. This organization imported up to 600 kilograms
of cocaine per week into the United States and transported millions of U.S.
dollars in drug proceeds from the United States back to Mexico.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey D. Sweetin stated that, “We know
that drugs move down in an organization and money flows upward. In order to
identify the entire organizational structure, we follow the money up the organizational
ladder to the leaders or CEO’s. Once we achieve this goal, we can dismantle
an entire drug trafficking organization from top to bottom. Law enforcement
agencies, who understand this goal, rid their communities of drugs and violence
and help take down an international drug trafficking organization. As a side
benefit of their “big picture” thinking, they can receive a share
of the assets seized in the investigation.”
DEA Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey D. Sweeten presented asset sharing
checks to the following agencies:
Colorado Springs Police Department $ 484,980.46 and $ 209,401.47*
Pueblo Police Department $ 387,984.36 and $ 209,401.47*
Colorado Bureau of Investigation $ 96,996.09 and $ 34,900.25*
Colorado State Patrol $ 96,996.09 and $ 34,900.25*
Denver Police Department $ 96,996.09
Weld County Drug Task Force $ 96,996.09
Internal Revenue Service $ 38,798.44
Bridgeville Police Department (Illinois) $ 19,399.22
Cook County Sheriff’s Department (Illinois) $ 19,399.22
Will County Police Team (Illinois) $ 19,399.22
Waukeena Police Department (Illinois) $ 19,399.22
Justice Department of Police (Illinois) $ 19,399.22
Palos Park Police Department (Illinois) $ 19,399.22
Oak Lawn Police Department (Illinois) $ 19,399.22
*Asset sharing checks previously rewarded.
An additional seizure total of $1.65 million has been forfeited pursuant
to Operation Choque and is awaiting final Department of Justice approval.
When the funds are released by the Department of Justice, additional
checks will be given to the above listed departments.
For further information, please contact Denver Field Division Public
Information Officer Special Agent Karen Flowers at (303) 705-7351.
-Fact Sheet outlining Operation Choque and Operation Choque photographs are