Federal authorities announced the arrests of 15 people this morning after 14-month investigation into drug trafficking in Southern Colorado, including the sales of highly-potent methamphetamine.
The defendants, arrested April 14 and 15, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and other drugs.
One defendant, Lucio Vazquez, 33, of Calhan is named in four separate indictments.
“Thanks to the hard work of these dedicated agents and officers, a major drug distribution organization transporting drugs to be sold in Pueblo and Colorado Springs has been dismantled. This result demonstrates the outstanding results law enforcement can achieve by working together,” said Colorado U.S. Attorney John Walsh.
Agents are still looking for three more defendants who are fugitives and the state is prosecuting another 10 individuals bringing the numbers of people involved in the drug organization to 36.
During the investigation, agents found 38 pounds of methamphetamine – most of it 99 percent pure. They also found 13 kilos of cocaine, four ounces of heroin, $506,500 and other assets.
At the time agents arrested the defendants, they found an additional 10 to 12 pounds of methamphetamine, five guns, about $33,000, and a number of vehicles. The total assets seized is more than $610,000.
During the takedown of the drug organization, agents learned three people were harboring and transporting illegal immigrants and Immigration and Customs Enforcement referred the case to prosecution in Arizona where federal charges were filed.
If convicted, all but two of the defendants named in the indictments face 10 years to life in prison.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration in Colorado with help from federal agents and local law enforcement throughout Southern Colorado and DEA agents in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
The following are those who were indicted as part of the drug conspiracy: Edgar Navarro, 36, Baldwin Park, Calif.; Manuel Martinez-Diaz, 39, Marino Valley, Calif.; Alberto Quiroz-Chavez, 31, San Jose, Calif., Eduardo Jimenez-Cortez, 43, Las Vegas, Nev.; Oscar Montano, 33, Denver; Pedro Carrera-Chavez, 36, Commerce City; Lucio Vazquez, 33, Calhan; Humberto Torres, 37, Juan Luis Virjen, 30, Eric Venabides-Alcantor, 29, Cristoval Ramirez-Cervantez, 27, Wilbert Cortina-Dzul, 28, Samuel Retano-Gradilla, 40, Julio Garcia-Alvarado, 37, Pedro Guillen-Ortiz, 24, Luis Aguayo-Castro, 42, Trevor Yeager, 35, all of Colorado Springs; Jamie Upchurch, 34, Elbert; Vincent Duvall, 53, Pueblo; Edgar Castro-Motta, 30, and Nancy Castro-Motta, 32, both of Reseda, Calif.; and Edgar Linares-Cevallos, 53, South Gate, Calif.