GREELEY, Colo. (KDVR) — More than 34 pounds of methamphetamine and approximately 65,000 counterfeit pills possibly containing fentanyl were confiscated during a Weld County drug trafficking investigation, the Weld County Drug Task Force said.

The task force drug busts occurred on Aug. 18 and Sept. 13 during traffic stops in Platteville and Gilcrest, respectively. The organization transporting the drugs is suspected to have ties originating in Mexico with a route through New Mexico into Colorado.

1st drug bust in Platteville

When a Weld County Sheriff’s Office K-9 deputy stopped New Mexico resident Irene Barela, 58, in the area of Highway 66 and Highway 85, the deputy’s K-9 partner Odin detected drugs in the vehicle. The deputy found:

  • 115.87 grams of counterfeit M-30 pills suspected of containing fentanyl (approximately 1,000 pills) 
  • Approximately 3 pounds of methamphetamine 

Barela was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute (a class 1 drug felony) and special offender status for transporting the amount of drugs into the state.

2nd drug bust in Gilcrest

A pickup truck was stopped on Highway 85 by a Weld County Sheriff’s K-9 deputy and his K-9 partner Viper. During the stop, Viper sensed narcotics and alerted his partner. The deputy found:

  • 440 grams of counterfeit M-30 pills suspected of containing fentanyl (approximately 4,000 pills) 
  • 5.25 pounds of methamphetamine  

Jorge Garcia-Loya, 36, was arrested on charges of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance (a class 1 drug felony), unlawful possession of a controlled substance (a class 4 drug felony) and speeding 20-40 MPH over the limit.

Garcia-Loya house search

Deputies obtained a search warrant for Garcia-Loya’s house in Henderson the same day he was arrested. A Weld County Sherriff’s K-9 deputy and his partner, K-9 Dexter discovered drugs in the home. What they found:

  • 14.2 pounds of counterfeit M-30 pills suspected of containing fentanyl (approximately 60,000 pills) 
  • 26.2 pounds of methamphetamine

What Weld County agencies confiscated in 2021

The Greeley Police Department, Weld County Sheriff’s Office and the Evans Police Department, which make up the Weld County Drug Task Force, collectively seized more than 50 pounds of methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin last year. The departments also confiscated nearly 12,000 counterfeit fentanyl pills, 137 firearms and more than $130,000 in cash and vehicles earned through drug dealings.

The Weld County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information on this drug investigation case to contact Commander Scott Smith at 970-351-5211.