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Fed arrest 17 alleged Mexican drug cartel operatives in Colorado

April 23, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Fed arrest 17 alleged Mexican drug cartel operatives in Colorado

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A grand jury delivered an indictment that charged 17 defendants with drug trafficking in connection with a drug cartel in Mexico.

The indictment against the 17 defendants was a result of a year-long probe into a Mexican drug cartel that snuck narcotics into the U.S. from California to Colorado, according to the Department of Justice.

Jeff Dorschner, a Spokesperson for Colorado’s U.S. Attorney’s Office, told the Denver Post. “During this investigation, law enforcement determined that a Mexican Cartel was involved. The identity is not being released as it remains the subject of a criminal investigation.”

The DEA reported that the Sinaloa Cartel is known to be the leading drug cartel in California and Colorado.

Of the 17 defendants, 11 are from Mexico, four are from El Salvador, and two are from the U.S. Seven of the suspects have been deemed fugitives.

Officials say Jose Tapia-Rubio, 58, the owner of the market is accused of leading the drug ring.

Jose Tapia Rubio

Feds indicated Tapis Rubio made $3 million in deposits between 2013 and 2016. His accomplice Rodrigo Mora-Sanchez, 49, also made 33 cash deposits, totaling $610,240 into several financial institutions during the same period.

The defendants reportedly brought large amounts of cocaine and meth into the U.S. through California using concealed compartments in cars.

The drugs were stored in stash houses in Aurora, Colorado, before being distributed at a grocery store.

Rodrigo Mora Sanchez

A transfer station at the grocery store was used to send some of the profits to Mexico. The remainder of the money was smuggled back in secret vehicle compartments.

“We are committed to dismantling and removing the threat posed by criminal organizations flooding American communities with narcotics,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. “This organization is alleged to have moved meth and cocaine from Mexico to Colorado, with devastating impact on communities. I want to congratulate the federal, state, and local law enforcement cooperation that resulted in this successful operation. Replicating this aggressive law enforcement take down is critical to breaking the backs of these organizations.”

The indictment outlines 45 counts, which includes an asset forfeiture accusation against the stash houses that were used to conceal the drugs.

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