A major methamphetamine drug trafficking ring was busted in Southern Colorado. The Denver DEA office made the announcement Friday.
Among the drugs that were seized: 66 pounds of meth, 189 grams of heroin, $111,000, 13 firearms and 16 vehicles. The investigation started in April 2013 and included agencies in San Francisco, Alburquerque, Denver and Pueblo. The United States Postal Service was also involved.
Seven people have been arrested so far: Henry Loya, 32, from Palo Alto, CA; Antonio Caro, 35, from Pueblo; Juan Carlos Rayos-Franco, 30, from Pueblo; Cint Nielse, 39, from Pueblo West; Sheriee Torres Maes, 31, from Pueblo; Patricia Maes, 25, from Pueblo; Jonathan Caudill, 36, from Pueblo.
The special agent in charge of the investigation, Barbra Roach of the Denver Division Drug Enforcement Administration, said, "Investigators have uncovered and interrupted an international drug-smuggling ring that trafficked methamphetamine from Mexico to California and Colorado."
Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor said, "Our focus on illicit drug activity is intense. We are participants in the DEA regional task force, our agency's narcotics unit is working at full steam, and our community continues to make a difference by reporting suspicious activity. This bust is a combination of that approach and we are thrilled to have been an integral part of the take-down, we will see a difference on the streets because of it."
The investigation started when a tip about a drug trafficking operation in Pueblo came into the DEA's Colorado Springs office. Investigators say Henry Loya was one of the heads of the operation and the source of the supply for Pueblo. They say the head of the cell in Pueblo was Anthony Caro. He was arrested while traveling from Las Vegas, Nev. They say they found two pounds of meth inside his car.
We're told the drugs seized in this investigation are worth about $18 million. The 66 pounds of meth is enough for every person living in Pueblo to have 10 hits.
Pueblo Police Chief Luis Velez said, "None of us individually could have brought this case to its conclusion; however, together we become a formidable force. The amounts of drugs that are being brought into Pueblo are staggering; this particular case highlights the ongoing need to keep these substances off of our streets and in identifying those individuals who continue to take part in and encourage these drug operations."