October 18, 2018
Contact: Special Agent Randy Ladd
Phone Number: (720-895-4294)
Large Metro Denver cocaine and methamphetamine trafficking organization members indicted and arrested
Defendants charged with trafficking, face no less than 10 years in federal prison
DENVER – During an early raid the morning of Oct. 18, 2018, more than 100 law enforcement officers arrested members of two separate but related drug trafficking organizations, U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer, FBI Denver Division Acting Special Agent in Charge Janeen Diguiseppi, DEA Denver Division Special Agent in Charge Tim McDermott, and IRS-Criminal Investigations Special Agent in Charge Steven Osborne announced. The Northern Colorado Drug Task Force also played a critical role in the investigation. Of those indicted, 18 have been arrested (8 of them in Mexico, one in New Mexico, 2 in El Paso) as of the time this press release was issued. The remaining defendants, including two in Denver, are being sought and will be considered fugitives.
In January 2015, the NCDTF initiated an investigation into the Acosta cocaine trafficking organization. Defendant Omar Chavez-Gutierrez was identified as the head of the Acosta Drug Trafficking Organization. In March 2017, members of the Denver OCDETF Strike Force started a new investigation into two independent but connected cocaine trafficking organizations. The first DTO was led by Omar Chavez-Gutierrez. The second DTO was directed by Mexican Source of Supply Eduardo Ramon Tarango-Tarango, with assistance from Colorado-based cell head Armando Colacion-Talamantes. The two organizations used a common source of supply, shared distributors, and maintained an overlapping customer base. Both DTOs obtained cocaine from multiple sources in Chihuahua, Mexico. The cocaine crossed the U.S./Mexico border between Juarez and El Paso. Multi-kilogram shipments were transported by couriers to Colorado where the cocaine was delivered to distributors in the Denver metro area, and then sold to lower-level dealers. Bulk cash drug proceeds were hidden in courier vehicles and transported to sources of supply in Mexico.
Based on this information, a federal grand jury in Denver returned five indictments charging 35 defendants with drug trafficking related crimes. During the course of the investigation, law enforcement seized approximately 25 kilograms of cocaine, 25 pounds of methamphetamine and $500,000. During the October 18th raid, an additional four kilos of heroin, 1 ¼ kilo of cocaine, $47,000 cash, five handguns, two rifles (AK-47 and AR-15) and a car were seized.
If convicted, all defendants face multiple drug trafficking charges. Each face no less than 10 years, and up to life, as well as a fine of up to $10,000,000.
This case was investigated by the Denver OCDETF Strike Force, including the FBI, DEA, IRS-CI, the Northern Colorado Drug Task Force and the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. Agencies that assisted with today’s arrests include: the United States Marshals Service, the Aurora Police Department, ATF, ICE, DEA Colorado Springs Residence Office, DEA El Paso, and DEA Las Cruces.
The defendants were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephanie Podolak and Zachary Phillips.
The indictments contain allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.