Last month, Ron Rocha, a volunteer baseball coach for Regis University, was on the losing end of an intra-squad matchup dubbed the Fall World Series. But he suffered an even greater defeat yesterday, when he was among 35 people named by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the bust of a massive cocaine ring that allegedly shipped twenty kilos of coke to Denver metro each week.
Of the 35 arrestees, 23 were taken into custody locally, including David Cordova, a retired Denver firefighter. Also grabbed: 53 kilos of cocaine, 35 pounds of marijuana and more than $650,000 in cash.
Page down to see photos of seized drugs, cash and more, plus mug shots of assorted suspects still at large and a U.S. Attorney's Office release detailing the enormous operation:
U.S. Attorney's Office release:
LARGE SCALE METRO DENVER COCAINE TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATION DISMANTLED
53 KILOGRAMS OF COCAINE AND OVER $650,000 SEIZED DURING INVESTIGATION
DENVER -- Thirty five people have been named in six separate indictments returned by a federal grand jury in Denver, charging them with drug trafficking crimes, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Metro Gang Task Force announced today. Of the thirty five defendants, 23 were arrested locally last Friday (November 5, 2010) without incident. Five defendants out of state were arrested. One defendant was previously in custody prior to the takedown last Friday, and six are fugitives from justice. The arrests were made by 150 law enforcement officers representing 20 agencies. It is believed that those indicted were responsible for trafficking 20 kilograms or more of cocaine to Metro Denver every week. The investigation revealed that the cocaine originated in Juarez, Mexico, with the traffickers having ties to a drug cartel there. The cocaine was then transported to Colorado via El Paso, Texas. Some of the defendants are members or associates of local street gangs.
During the course of this investigation, agents and officers seized 53 kilograms of cocaine, 35 pounds of marijuana, over $650,000 in cash, 9 firearms, and 15 vehicles. Of the 53 kilograms of cocaine seized, 27 kilograms were seized during two traffic stops in Pueblo, Colorado. Agents and officers also seized $500,000 in cash from one defendant's home, and $122,000 from a car stop in Downtown Denver.
The investigation began with Robert "Big Smoke" Thompson, which resulted in an indictment for distributing and possessing with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of crack cocaine. The investigation then led to the indictment of Mario Armendariz and six other defendants, who were involved in conspiracy to traffic crack cocaine led by Armendariz. Fourteen people were then named in a third indictment, charging Eduardo Rivas and others with supplying cocaine to Armendariz. The investigation then led to the fourth indictment, which charged Jose Andres Quezada-Hernandez and eight others with conspiracy and cocaine trafficking. The fifth indictment charges Daniel Martinez and two others, and the sixth indictment charges Agustin Cordova-Campos and three others. One defendant, Austin Gilmore, was named in three of the six indictments.
Those involved include:
Aguero-Saenz, Luis, age 20, arrested in El Paso, Texas
Alvarado-Carrillo, Eulises, age 29, arrested in Lakewood
Armendariz, Mario, age 23, arrested in Wellington
Arroyo, Jose Luis, age 23, arrested in Denver
Barrendey, Alonso, age 22, arrested in Denver
Bonilla, Mary, age 51, fugitive
Bustamante, Ruben, age 25, fugitive
Cdebaca, Karl, age 30, arrested in Denver
Cordova, David, age 56, arrested in Denver
Cordova-Campos, Agustin, age 45, arrested in Englewood
Cordova-Campos, Jaime, age 40, arrested in Aurora
Gilmore, Austin, age 28, arrested in Wheat Ridge
Gonzalez, Ernesto, age 29, fugitive
Gutierrez, Claudia, age 26, arrested in Adams County
Macias-Cordova, Gustavo, age 24, arrested in Arvada
Madick, Christopher, age 26, arrested in Denver
Martinez, Andrew, age 27, previously in federal custody
Martinez, Daniel, age 33, arrested in Las Vegas, Nevada
Martinez-Lopez, Santiago, age 29, arrested in Denver
Patterson, Xallier, age 36, arrested in Huntsville, Alabama
Quezada-Hernandez, Jose Andres, age 44, fugitive
Rivas, Eduardo, age 29, arrested in Arvada
Rivas, Jose, age 25, arrested in Thornton
Rocha, Ronald, age 40, arrested in Denver
Rodriguez, Sergio, age 33, arrested in Denver
Sandoval, Josefina, age 30, fugitive
Sisneros, Alex, age 24, arrested in Thornton
Sotelo-Morales, Hugo, age 32, fugitive
Tabor, Marvin, age 37, arrested in Illinois
Talmich, Richard, age 32, arrested in Denver
Thompson, Robert, age 39, arrested in Lakewood
Ulloa, Ivan, age 29, arrested in Lakewood
Urrutia-Torres, Jose, age 37, arrested in El Paso, Texas
Vigil, Isaac, age 26, arrested in Denver
Williams, Brittany, age 21, arrested in Denver
Thompson faces a maximum penalty of not less than 10 years, and up to life in prison, and up to a $4,000,000 fine for distribution and possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine.
The seven defendants in the second indictment, including Mario Armendariz, face a maximum penalty of not less than 10 years, and up to life in prison, and up to a $4,000,000 fine for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine.
The 14 defendants in the third indictment, including Eduardo Rivas, face a maximum penalty of not less than 10 years, and up to life in prison, and up to a $4,000,000 fine for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine.
The 9 defendants in the fourth indictment, including Jose Andres Quezada-Hernandez, face a maximum penalty of not less than 10 years, and up to life in prison, and up to a $4,000,000 fine for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine.
The three defendants charged in the fifth indictment, with Daniel Martinez as the lead defendant, face a maximum penalty of not less than 10 years, and up to life in prison, and up to a $4,000,000 fine for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine.
The four defendants charged in the sixth indictment, including Agustin Cordova-Campos, face a maximum penalty of not less than 10 years, and up to life in prison, and up to a $4,000,000 fine for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine.
One defendant, Austin Gilmore, was named in three of the six indictments. Some of the indictments include asset forfeiture counts, including cash and cars seized during the investigation, which were used as part of the drug trafficking crimes.
The Metro Gang Task Force is comprised of the Adams County Sheriff's Office, the Aurora Police Department, the Colorado National Guard, the Colorado State Patrol, the Commerce City Police Department, the Denver District Attorney's Office, the Denver Police Department, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Immigration & Customs Enforcement, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, and the Thornton Police Department.
Other agencies assisting with the arrests of the defendants in this case include the
Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, & Firearms, the Arvada Police Department, the Englewood Police Department, the Northglenn Police Department, the North Metro Task Force, the Westminster Police Department, and the Wheat Ridge Police Department.
These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Colleen Covell, with Assistant U.S. Attorney Tonya Andrews assisting with the asset forfeiture.
The charges contained in this indictment are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.