Dozens indicted for drug trafficking in Colorado
A federal grand jury in Denver has returned eight separate indictments charging a total of 52 individuals with trafficking cocaine and crack cocaine in the Denver metro area.
Of the 52 indicted, 35 were arrested. The other 17 defendants are considered fugitives. Most of those arrested Thursday made an initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge, where they were advised of their rights and the charges pending against them. Those individuals will have detention hearings and arraignments next week on May 9. Those who didn’t make it to court Thursday will appear in court Friday.
Investigators say members and associates of the East Side Crips dealt cocaine in "open air drug markets," including near parks and public transportation centers.
If convicted, the 52 defendants face a wide variety of criminal consequences depending on the drug trafficking charges. Some face not less than 10 years and up to life, others face at least five years and up to 40 years, and yet others face not more than 20 years in federal prison. Some defendants are also charged with using a telephone to commit a drug trafficking offense. The penalty for that charge is not more than four years in federal prison per count.
“In Colorado, we pride ourselves on gold-standard law enforcement partnerships that make life safe here,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer. “Eighteen agencies came together in this investigation and removed poison, fear and danger from parks, neighborhoods, and public transportation. And they did it with minimal disruption to the folks in those communities who just want to go outside, walk to school, use their parks, or take the light rail.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge Calvin Shivers says the arrests "are indicative of the success that can be attained when agencies combine resources to attack violent street gangs."
“Crimes of this nature cause our citizens to live in fear and threaten to destroy our neighborhoods," said Shivers in a release. "This cannot be tolerated. We are confident today’s arrests will send a message to those contemplating committing these egregious acts that they will be aggressively investigated and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The FBI will continue to continue to work with our law enforcement partners and prosecutors to attack this crime problem and remove violent criminals from our neighborhoods.”