June 6, 2014

Two Metro Denver Drug Trafficking Organizations Dismantled by Metro Gang Task Force

WASHINGTON—Following a two-year criminal drug investigation, 54 defendants were named in four separate indictments charging various violations of the Controlled Substances Act, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Metro Gang Task Force announced. Of the 54 defendants indicted, 28 were arrested during raids early this morning. There are 12 defendants who have not been apprehended and are actively being sought by law enforcement. Finally, there are 14 defendants who were already in custody prior to today’s takedown.

In addition to the arrests, agents and officers this morning recovered two pounds of methamphetamine, approximately $40,000 in cash, and two firearms. These seizures were in addition to evidence found during the pendency of the two unrelated investigations. The investigations, which were initiated in March 2012, have resulted in the confiscation of 19,329.88 gross grams of methamphetamine, 614 gross grams of cocaine, 11.14 gross grams of heroin, 6.5 gross grams of MDMA (ecstasy), and 18,287.8 gross grams of marijuana. In addition, 13 guns, two cars, and $94,825, not counting items seized today.

“Make no mistake: as a result of these raids, Colorado is a safer place,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “Gangs that traffic in drugs also traffic in violence—whether by intimidation and fear or by actual force. And while the exact impact these arrests have on the drug trade is difficult to quantify, it is safe to say that the quantity of cocaine, crack, meth, and heroin available on the street have been substantially reduced as a result of today’s operation.”

“Today’s operations are yet another illustration of how these criminal organizations will not be allowed to operate with impunity in our communities,” said Special Agent in Charge Thomas P. Ravenelle of the FBI’s Denver Division Field Office.

“Street gangs and drugs are a recipe for a significant percentage of violent crime in cities across the country,” said Special Agent in Charge Kumar C. Kibble of HSI Denver. “The joint investigations we pursue with many of our Denver-area based law enforcement partners target the resources of gangs and drug dealers—finances, personnel, drugs and guns—to put them out of business.”

The four indictments charged defendants from two separate and unrelated drug trafficking organizations (DTOs). The drugs being trafficked by both DTOs include: cocaine, crack, methamphetamine, heroin, and marijuana. The investigations determined that some of the drugs being distributed throughout Metro Denver and along the Front Range came from Mexico. Some of the defendants who were responsible for trafficking these drugs are known for being involved with or having ties to others involved in violent crimes.

In the first DTO, known as Operation Gangster Disciples, 21 defendants were named in two separate related indictments returned by a federal grand jury in Denver on charges ranging from conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of various drugs, including: cocaine, crack, methamphetamine, and heroin. The DTO was allegedly run by defendant Ricky Kamil Garrison. In addition to drug trafficking charges, Garrison faces a charge for travel with the purpose of engaging in interstate prostitution. Another defendant, James Tillmon, faces state charges for hit and run. Some of the defendants in this DTO are members or associates of the Gangster Disciples (GD) gang. All face various drug trafficking related charges. In addition to the drug charges, various members in these indictments also face charges, including felons in possession of firearms, and distribution of dangerous drugs within 1,000 feet of a school.

Those arrested today include:

  • Francisco Aguilar, age 38, Denver
  • Shawn Beardsley, age 45, Aurora
  • Travis Edwards, age 52, Aurora
  • Dondrai Fisher, age 41, Aurora
  • Jesus Molina-Villarreal, age 45, Aurora
  • Archie Poole, age 37, Aurora
  • Francisco Ramirez, age 32, Aurora
  • Simeon Ramirez, age 40, Denver
  • Javier Segura-Cisneros, age 27, Aurora
  • Khari Smith, age 37, Aurora
  • Sidney Taylor, age 48, Denver
  • Christopher Vigil, age 27, Denver
  • Latoya Wimbush, age 29, Aurora
  • Melvin Turner, age 38, Aurora

Those indicted by not yet arrested include:

  • Christopher Martinez, age 33, Aurora
  • Luis Ramirez, age 25, Thornton
  • Gregory Williams, age 53, Arvada
  • Name Unknown, age and residence unknown

Those already in custody include:

  • Ricky Kamil Garrison, age 30
  • James Tillmon, age 30
  • Robert Painter, age 44

In the second DTO, known as the Gonzalez-Cepeva/Quintero Drug Trafficking Organization, a federal grand jury in Denver handed down two additional indictments, unrelated to the Gangster Disciples DTO. In the Gonzalez-Cepeva/Quintero DTO, 33 defendants were named in two separate related indictments on charges ranging from drug trafficking to engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, conspiracy to import various drugs from Mexico, cash smuggling, running a drug controlled premises, possession of a weapon by an illegal alien, possession of a weapon by a felon, interstate transportation in aid of racketeering, and possession of a weapon in connection with a drug trafficking crime. The Gonzalez-Cepeva/Quintero DTO was involved in the possession with intent to distribute and the distribution of methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana. The marijuana was allegedly imported to Colorado from California. The Gonzalez-Cepeva/Quintero DTO has individuals with ties to the 211 Crew.

Of the defendants indicted in this case, those arrested today include:

  • Jose Castaneda-Zamora, age 38, unknown
  • Noe Chavez-Gomez, age 20, unknown
  • Debbi Martinez, age 24, Denver
  • Rafael Quintero Gomez, age 21, unknown
  • Jesus Montelongo-Talavera, age 24, Westminster
  • Alberto Quintero, age 23, Aurora
  • Juan Manuel Quintero, age 22, unknown
  • Racquel Ramos-Sanchez, age 58, San Elizario, Texas
  • Alberto Roel, age 45, Edinburg, Texas
  • Robert Schaffer, age 65, Fort Collins
  • Mark Singer, age 41, Colby, Kansas
  • John Howard Smith, age 55, Denver
  • Jessica Trejo-Huerta, age 23, Mexico
  • Servando Gandara-Chavez, age 43, Denver

Those indicted by not yet arrested include:

  • Jose Oceguera-Ramirez, age unknown, Mexico
  • Tomas Gonzalez-Villalobos, age 43, Mexico
  • Ramona Haro-Iniquez, age 44, Denver
  • Marcus Marler, age 38, unknown
  • Juan Montelongo, age 25, Westminster
  • Sergio Salazar-Torres, age unknown, Mexico
  • Raul Ramirez-Munoz, age 42, Mexico
  • Hector Jesus Trejo-Huerta, age 27, Mexico

Those already in custody include:

  • Antonio Gonzalez-Cepeva, age 25
  • Elias Rafael Gonzalez-Cabrera, age 22
  • Jesus Quintero, Jr., age 26
  • Gabriel Sowell, age 38
  • William Brewer, age 58
  • Porfiria Alejandra Faias-Contreras, age 24
  • Maria Farias-Contreras, age 23
  • Jesus Quintero, Sr., age 46
  • Carol Hawley, age 45
  • Gina Salcido, age 42
  • David Hall, age 56

If convicted, the defendants face penalties ranging from not less than five years in federal prison to up to life in federal prison, depending on the count of conviction. The defendants’ criminal history, and the type and amount or weight of the drugs being trafficked are factors a judge will consider at sentencing.

The indictments contain an asset forfeiture allegation. The allegation states that upon conviction, the defendants shall forfeit to the United States any and all property, real or personal, involved in such offense, or any property traceable to the crime, such as vehicles or structures, and also including but not limited to a money judgment in the amount of proceeds involved in the offense.

This case was investigated by the Metro Gang Task Force. The Metro Gang Task Force is comprised of the Denver Division of the FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Adams County Sheriff’s Office, Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, Aurora Police Department, Colorado State Patrol, Commerce City Police Department, Colorado National Guard Counter Drug Unit, Denver District Attorney’s Office, Denver Police Department, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program (HIDTA), the Lakewood Police Department, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and the Thornton Police Department. Agencies assisting the Metro Gang Task Force include the Westminster Police Department; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF); and the U.S. Marshals Service.

Gangster Disciples is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Zachary Phillips. The Gonzalez-Cepeva/Quintero DTO is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephanie Podolak and Brad Giles.

The charges contained in the four indictments are allegations, and the defendants named in these indictments are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.