News Release
Contact: Suzanne Halonen, S/A
Number: 303-705-7351
June 22, 2006

Drug Task Force Seizes Methamphetamine Worth Over $3 Million
DEA targets Mexican Meth Trafficking Organizations in the Colorado Springs Area

Colorado Springs, CO – Today, Jeffrey D. Sweetin, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Rocky Mountain Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and El Paso County District Attorney John Newsome announced that agents of the Colorado Springs Drug Task Force arrested three individuals and seized approximately 20 pounds of methamphetamine worth $3,632,000 street value, and $20,000 cash.

DEA Colorado Springs Resident Agent in Charge Gray Hildreth stated, “This is another success story in a string of recent investigations targeting Mexican organizations trafficking large quantities of methamphetamine in the Colorado Springs area."

“Intelligence information indicates that Colorado Springs is a destination for large amounts of methamphetamine produced in Mexico, smuggled across the border and sent to Colorado Springs through Arizona, Texas, and California. The Colorado Springs drug task force is making a real difference by making numerous arrests and the seizure of significant amounts of methamphetamine intended for sale in the Colorado Springs area,” added Hildreth.

The arrests and seizures stem from the June 21, 2006 when surveillance of a Jeep Cherokee with Arizona license led to the arrests of the two occupants, Manuel Hernandez-Martinez and Juan Manuel Quintero-Lopez. Approximately 20 pounds of "crystal ice" (methamphetamine) was found hidden in secret compartments in their jeep.

photo - caption below photo - caption below

DEA agents discovered a secret compartment in the back of the Jeep Cherokee.

A short time later the intended recipient of the meth, Gonzalo Lemos-Sepulveda, was arrested near Fort Carson in Colorado Springs. In addition, agents seized approximately $20,000 cash.

All three defendants are Mexican nationals illegally in the United States.

El Paso County District Attorney John Newsome stated, “This investigation and resulting arrests demonstrate the benefits of federal and local law enforcement cooperation. Methamphetamine is a significant challenge facing this community and fueling crime. Removing this quantity of the drug, along with the illegal aliens trafficking it, is a major accomplishment and contributes greatly to public safety."

The defendants are being prosecuted in El Paso County District Court by the El Paso County District Attorney's Office on charges of:

  • Unlawful Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance with Intent to Distribute 1,000 grams or more, a Class Three (3) Felony
  • Conspiracy to Distribute a Schedule II Controlled Substance, 1,000 grams or more, a Class Three (3) Felony.

Bond is set at $250,000 for each defendant.

The investigation was conducted by the DEA Colorado Springs Resident Office Task Force comprised of DEA Special Agents and officers from the Colorado Springs Police Department, Metro Vice, Narcotics and Intelligence Division, the Pueblo Police Department, the Colorado State Patrol and the El Paso County District Attorney’s Office.

The charges are only allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.