DENVER, CO. – DENVER – Ten defendants, six from Aspen and four from Los Angeles, were charged in a sealed indicted returned by a federal grand jury in Denver on April 19, 2011, United States Attorney John Walsh and Acting Special Agent in Charge Kevin Merrill announced today. Of the ten defendants, 9 were arrested yesterday (5 in Aspen, 3 in Los Angeles, and 1 in Dallas) without incident. One Los Angeles defendant is a fugitive. Those who were arrested yesterday in Colorado are scheduled to make their initial appearances in U.S. District Court in Denver this afternoon.
During the course of this one year investigation, defendants allegedly distributed more than 5 kilograms of cocaine in the Aspen, Colorado area. The investigation has revealed that this organization has transported and distributed over 200 kilograms of cocaine into Aspen over the past 15 years.
According to the indictment, starting in July 2010 and continuing through April 2011, the ten defendants did knowingly and intentionally conspire with each other and others both known and unknown to the Grand Jury, to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine. The nine count indictment also includes other allegations of cocaine trafficking by the various defendants.
The indictment also includes asset forfeiture allegations, where the defendants shall forfeit to the United States any right, title and interest in property constituting and derived from any proceeds obtained directly and indirectly as a result of such offenses, including $175,614 in cash seized during the investigation as well as in excess of $2,000,000 in drug related property in Aspen which was indicted as a result of this investigation.
The defendants in this case are:
Joan Anastasi, age 67, of Aspen
Valentin Barrios, age 42, of Los Angeles
Anthony Buchanan, age 67, of Los Angeles
Joseph James Burke, age 63, of Aspen
Alfonso Elvao-Allocati, age 70, of Los Angeles
Jack Fellner, age 60, of Aspen
Wayne Alan Reid, age 65, of Aspen
Peggy Schlaugher, age 41, of Aspen
Christopher James Sheehan, age 65, of Aspen
Jesse Trujillo, age 33, of Los Angeles (fugitive)
“Thanks to the hard work of the Drug Enforcement Administration with assistance from the HIDTA Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team (TRIDENT), Aspen cocaine dealers have been arrested, significantly reducing the supply of cocaine in that community,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.
“This operation dealt a significant blow to a major drug trafficking organization with potential ties to the violent cartels that have murdered thousands in Mexico,” said DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Kevin Merrill. “These arrests make Aspen and its surrounding communities safer by taking significant amounts of drugs off the street and putting violent criminals behind bars. DEA and its partners will continue to attack those drug pushers who threaten our neighborhoods and streets.”
If convicted of the maximum penalty, each defendant faces not less than 10 years, and up to life in federal prison, as well as a $10,000,000 fine.
The charges contained in the indictment are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) with assistance from the HIDTA Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team (TRIDENT) comprised of Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, Glenwood Springs Police Department, Carbondale Police Department, Vail Police Department and Rifle Police Department. The Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation also assisted in this case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michele Korver is prosecuting the case.