DENVER (KDVR) — An Adams County grand jury has indicted nine alleged members of a Mexican drug cartel who are accused of funneling large amounts of drugs into Adams County and other parts of Colorado, Oregon, Nevada and Arizona.
A number of drug seizures led to these indictments, according to 17th Judicial District Attorney Brian Mason, the Adams County District Attorney’s Office Drug Trafficking Unit, the North Metro Task Force and the DEA Rocky Mountain Field Division.
Two of the defendants, Dallas Beller and Juan Manuel Sanudo-Rivera, are in custody. The rest remain at large.
Court documents list 47 charges among the nine defendants. The charges include:
- Colorado Organized Crime Act: Pattern of racketeering
- Colorado Organized Crime Act: Conspiracy
- Conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance: Fentanyl
- Conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance: Methamphetamine
- Money laundering
- Vehicular eluding
- Special offender: Firearm
- First-degree assault
In a press release, the DA said the operation, named “Dress for Less,” investigated where there was a connection between the Sinaloa Cartel and Adams County. Distributors were allegedly identified in Westminster and Federal Heights.
“The DEA continues to be laser-focused on the Sinaloa Cartel and their network,” said David Olesky, acting special agent in charge of the DEA Rocky Mountain Field Division. “The significant seizures of fentanyl and methamphetamine made in the Denver-Metro area over the course of this investigation demonstrates the commitment law enforcement in the region has to addressing the problem, but also the influence the cartels have in our communities. The work by the investigators and prosecution team on this case is commendable and will continue.”
Mason also applauded the unit’s work toward taking down large-scale drug dealers.
“I’m proud of the work of my staff and our partners, and it is encouraging to see it come to fruition through this expansive indictment; however, the work continues and this is just one step in the process of ridding our communities of these Mexican drug cartels that do our residents a great deal of harm,” Mason said in a release.
Indictment details large-scale drug sales
According to the indictment, officials discovered a conversation on April 11 between three of the defendants where they all agreed to sell fentanyl and methamphetamine. The indictment states that on the same day, defendant Joel Galvez-Perez picked up some of the drugs and brought them to an apartment at 1600 Glenarm Pl. in Denver.
This location, according to court documents, was the base of operations for defendant Beller’s drug distribution. Officers searched the apartment on April 12 and found approximately 465 grams of fentanyl, 376 grams of methamphetamine, 73 grams of cocaine, 17 grams of crack cocaine, a handgun and $5,290 in cash.
On April 14, another electronic conversation took place among three of the defendants, including Galvez-Perez, who was instructed to bring fentanyl and methamphetamine to a Bed, Bath, and Beyond on 104th Avenue in Northglenn, according to the indictment.
The drugs were purchased by defendant Ivan Rodriguez, court documents specify, and he attempted to leave the scene in a vehicle. The indictment said Rodriguez, accompanied by Jorge Trejo, was confronted by law enforcement who were monitoring the transaction. According to court documents, Rodriguez led Thornton Police on a high-speed chase that ended in a crash, and the pair of defendants fled on foot.
Officers recovered backpacks with 1,713 grams of fentanyl, 2,713 grams of methamphetamine, two handguns and $2,974 in cash from the crashed vehicle.
Law enforcement worked quickly to recover drugs
On May 22, a similar deal was executed by Galvez-Perez and two other defendants. Galvez-Perez delivered fentanyl and methamphetamine to the 11000 block of Lavinia Lane in Northglenn, according to the lengthy indictment.
Defendant Aaron Owens then allegedly took the drugs into the house. That same day, law enforcement executed a search warrant and seized approximately 131 grams of fentanyl pills, 3,321 grams of methamphetamine and two handguns, according to the indictment.
The indictment specifies that Galvez-Perez also sold fentanyl to:
- Gabriella Olds in Federal Heights on May 24. Olds then allegedly sold some pills to another individual, who was arrested after a vehicular pursuit. Officers recovered 1,178 grams of fentanyl pills
- Cristian Quintanilla-Galvan in Commerce City on May 24. The indictment specifies that Quintanilla-Galvan planned to sell the fentanyl
Olds also allegedly sold fentanyl to Diego Salazar on May 24 near 92nd Avenue and Tejon Street in Federal Heights. Law enforcement observed the transaction and attempted to stop Salazar, who fled in his vehicle at high speeds, according to the indictment. Adams County Sheriff’s Office deputies pursued Salazar, who continued to drive after his tires were disabled. The indictment also states that Salazar fired “a number of shots” at a deputy in pursuit, and eventually stopped his vehicle to flee on foot.
The indictment states that Salazar was then detained after throwing something over a bridge into a body of water. Officers searched Salazar’s vehicle and found 1,178 grams of fentanyl pills, 62 grams of methamphetamine, 32 grams of cocaine, a loaded pistol magazine and an AR-15.