DENVER — Nearly 200 agents and officers arrested 23 individuals based on four federal grand jury indictments, officials announced Thursday.
The arrests began early Thursday morning and took place without incident. There are nine individuals who have not been arrested and are considered fugitives.
Four individuals were already in custody before the enforcement action and three defendants will receive summons.
In addition to the arrests, agents and officers recovered liquid LSD, heroin, methamphetamine, seven guns and $3,500 in cash, according to the Department of Justice.
Four indictments were obtained charging a total of 39 individuals with drug related crimes, targeting two large but unrelated drug trafficking enterprises in an operation codenamed Black Rhino.
Throughout the investigation, which spanned several years, officials seized a combined 48 pounds of methamphetamine, 3.5 kilograms of cocaine, 1 pound of heroin, $600,000 in cash and 17 guns.
“The indictment of 39 individuals on heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine drug trafficking charges, and some on firearm charges, is a powerful step against drug trafficking in Metro Denver — especially on the Westside,” U.S. Attorney John Walsh said.
“Nearly 200 brave men and women from law enforcement at every level worked this morning to safely arrest the defendants safely. Thanks to their excellent work today’s operation was a success without incident.”
“Today’s arrests are indicative of the success that can be attained when agencies combine resources to investigate street gangs,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Thomas Ravenelle said. “It takes joint investigations such as this one, which combined local, state and federal resources, to investigate criminal organizations of this nature. The FBI is committed to working with our law enforcement partners and prosecutors to investigate and prosecute organized criminal enterprises.”
If convicted, the defendants face a variety of penalties for drug trafficking, anywhere from not more than 20 years in federal prison, to not less than 10 years and up to life in federal prison, depending on the charges.