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Drug ring operating in Jefferson County busted

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10 suspects held, 6 remain at large in operation also linked to cockfighting

By Ramsey Scott

An interstate amphetamine and cocaine ring selling drugs in Jefferson County has been broken up after a seven-month investigation by Colorado law enforcement agencies.

The investigation, named Operation Blood Sport, led to the arrests of 10 suspects Dec. 6 in the Denver area. Throughout the course of the investigation, authorities seized four handguns; 13 pounds of meth valued at $150,000 to $200,000; 3 kilograms of cocaine valued at $96,000; and an unknown amount of cash.

Six of the 16 suspects named in the indictments remained at large. All of the suspects are either U.S. citizens or Mexican nationals. 

“I’m pleased to announce we’ve taken a significant step in our war on drugs,  said Jeffco District Attorney Scott Storey. “Drug trafficking in our state and throughout the United States continues to be a major problem, so I commend those involved in breaking up this drug trafficking organization. 

The operation also led to the arrests of several suspects in Tucson, Ariz., and San Bernardino, Calif.

 

Along with the drugs, authorities seized 70 roosters and equipment for cockfighting last Thursday at 6347 W. Mississippi Ave. in Lakewood. When authorities began to investigate the ring, they believed several suspects might have been involved with cockfighting, which led to the operation being named Blood Sport. 

It wasn’t until finding the 70 roosters that investigators learned the extent of the drug ring’s involvement in cockfighting, Storey said.

The drug ring had been under investigation since May, when authorities first learned of several people who were distributing cocaine in Jefferson County, Aurora and Denver. The investigation led to the discovery of the drug ring, which had been operating in the area for several years.

On Nov. 30, a grand jury in Jefferson County handed down a 49-count indictment against the 16 suspects. The suspects are accused of violating the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act, distribution of a controlled substance, conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, and money laundering.

The drug ring allegedly was bringing in the illicit drugs and distributing them to other dealers, who in turn would sell them to customers, Storey said.

Throughout the investigation, several seizures of drugs and cash were made. The dealers hid the drugs inside various parts of cars, which were driven into the area.

In June, about $20,000 in cash was discovered behind a bumper of a Subaru Outback that had been stopped on Interstate 70. In September, 2 kilograms of cocaine were discovered hidden in the airbag of an Audi during a traffic stop. 

And in October, about 12 pounds of meth was found inside a Ford Expedition’s four-wheel-drive transfer case. 

While the arrests mark a significant victory in the war on drugs, Storey said, the amount seized represents a drop in the bucket when compared to the volume of drugs the group brought into the area over the last few years.

The investigation was conducted by the West Metro Drug Task Force, the Denver Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force, and the 1st Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

The operation was part of a larger national drug investigation called Operation Below the Belt, said Barbara Roach, special agent in charge of the Denver division of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

 

Contact Ramsey Scott at ramsey@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22.