A collection of court documents tell the story of the long investigation that led to a total of 19 drug arrests. Those papers reveal the work investigators did to gather evidence, including surveillance conducted at a busy Colorado Springs restaurant where at least one of the drug deals was conducted.
The investigation began in May of 2011, shortly after 11 News completed an investigation into drugs at several high schools. Investigators from the DEA and FBI began their own investigation into the case in March of 2012.
Many of the suspects are teenagers from local high schools, the same schools that 11 News investigated in April of 2011. In that story, reporter Betty Sexton found that an alarming number of local teens were getting hooked on the dangerous drug.
Court documents about the investigations reveal that several arrestees were busted trying to buy the drugs at public places like an Old Chicago restaurant and a Walgreens location.
Arrest papers say some of the suspects are accused of giving the teens drugs for free to get them hooked.
The first arrests happened on June 5. Police say five key members of the organization were arrested. Police found about two pounds of heroin, cocaine, firearms and money in their possession.
The next day, nine more people were arrested during what police call a “reversal operation” where they targeted street-level heroin distributors and users in Colorado Springs. The eight adults and one juvenile were arrested for criminal attempt to possess a Schedule I controlled substance.
Authorities also arrested four more people posing as heroin customers. In reality, police say they were rival heroin distributors who wanted to rob an undercover officer.
Arrest affidavits show that confidential DEA informants provided information crucial to cracking this case. One of the documents shows that the information led investigators to identify an alleged heroin distributor named Josue Leyva-Rojo. He allegedly agreed to sell $17,000 worth of heroin to a second confidential informant at a shopping center along Austin Bluffs.
The document says that arrest led to a search of an apartment on N. Carefree Circle where more heroin was found and another arrest was made. They also found a cellphone believed to be used in arranging the drug deals. Undercover detectives answered calls to that phone and set up a bust at an Old Chicago’s location on Austin Bluffs.
Other arrestees in this investigation are:
1. Taylor Paul Fuller, 18 years old
2. Krista Rose Eileen Gustafson, 18 years old
3. Michael Reed Kemp, 19 years old
4. Donovan Sisneros Jr., 19 years old
5. Gabriel Adam McKinsey, 19 years old
6. Brian Brett Cogan, 20 years old
7. Crystal Nicole Sparks, 20 years old
8. Rachel Leah Dickman, 21 years old
9. Melodie Rose Bishel, 22 years old
10. Terry James Smith, 23 years old
11. Gabriel Medina Jr, 23 years old
12. Clayton Roy Martin, 24 years old
13. Josue Leyva-Rojo, 28 years old
14. Seth Michael Berger, 30 years old
15. Jorge Alberto Rodriguez-Lopez, 33 years old
16. Jose Manuel Brambila, 33 years old
17. Ismael Jacobo-Esquirel, 39 years old
18. Francisco Uribe-Contreras, 46 years old
19. Police have declined to release the identity of a juvenile defendant