Comments Off on 36 women and men arrested in north Denver metro area Methamphetamine drug bust

DENVER – A large drug raid across the Denver metro area Thursday morning resulted in 32 arrests, seized drugs and firearms.

The North Metro Drug Task Force executed eight search warrants at 17 different Denver metro area locations. Sources tell 9NEWS some of the locations and the suspects arrested are associated with some gangs in the metro area.635575202299393626-B79tpZsCIAAGEyr

The following six people are being charged with violations of the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act: Heimar Benitez-Lopez, Armando Armendariz, Robert Jose DeHerrera, Ricardo Perez-Gallardo, David Duane Sutton, and Jose Michael Tafoya.

A 63-page arrest affidavit for Benitez-Lopez reads like crime novel, with Benitez-Lopes the main character. Police say Benitez-Lopez was on probation while allegedly dealing drugs. According to his probation officer, Benitez-Lopez often wore high-end clothing and seemed to be living “beyond his means.”

Police say the criminal enterprise used code words for drugs and outfitted SUVs with secret compartments, presumably to hide cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin.

An arrest affidavit shows the investigation began in January 2014, after two women were stopped at a border patrol checkpoint in New Mexico. The document says the two women were shuttling drugs from Mexico that were destined for Colorado.

“This is the right 30 people that you want to take out of a community to make the community safer and get drugs off the street.”

Seven pounds of methamphetamine, three pounds of cocaine and two pounds of heroin were seized. In addition, eight firearms were recovered, including four assault-type rifles and four handguns.

“We have people that are bringing in large amounts of cocaine and methamphetamine from outside of the state and even outside of the country that are coming into Colorado, and then they have a complex distribution network below them, which we have completely dismantled,” Sgt. Jim Gerhardt with the North Metro Drug Task Force said. “This is the right 30 people that you want to take out of a community to make the community safer and get drugs off the street.” Gerhardt said the meth was coming in from northern Mexico. Authorities there have been advised about the Colorado investigation. Sources say at least one of those arrested was in the leadership of the gang.

In a press release, DEA Special Agent in Charge Barbra M. Roach said, “[We’re] very pleased with this morning’s professionally executed operations,” adding “this outstanding effort by our law enforcement partners has cutoff numerous avenues of illicit income fueling foreign-based drug cartels.

Gerhardt says authorities are still looking for additional people. Some people named in the complaint obtained by 9News were already in custody at the time of Thursday morning’s takedown.

Gerhardt says this group was of the utmost concern for authorities, as they are accused of committing lots of violent and extortive acts.

“One of the things we knew coming into this, this was a group that was armed and potentially gonna be very violent,” Gerhardt said. “Thankfully, our plan was executed in a way that nobody confronted law enforcement with those guns and nobody got hurt. Everybody was safely taken into custody.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration assisted in the operation. Undercover officers used flashbags to enter some of the locations.

In addition, nine other locations were being investigated, but no search warrants were issued for those locations. The locations were in Denver, Northglenn, Thornton, Arvada and unincorporated Arapahoe County.








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