The Drug Enforcement Administration held a news conference in Pueblo Friday (4/18/14) to announce a meth trafficking ring bust.
The DEA says that on April 11, 2014, seven people were arrested, and two pounds of meth, 13 firearms, 16 vehicles and $5,000 cash were seized.
The operation involved DEA and law enforcement agencies in Colorado Springs, San Francisco, Albuquerque and Pueblo as well as the United States postal Service.
The seven people who were arrested in connection to the ring have been identified by the DEA as follows:
- Henrya Loya, 32, of Palo Alto, Calif.
- Antonio Caro, 35, of Pueblo, Colo.
- Juan Carlos Rayos-Franco, 30, of Pueblo, Colo.
- Clint Nielsen, 39, of Pueblo West, Colo.
- Sheriee Torres Maes, 31, of Pueblo, Colo.
- Patricia Maes, 25, of Pueblo, Colo.
- Jonathan Caudill, 36, of Pueblo, Colo.
In total, the DEA says this investigation resulted in the seizure of 66 pounds of meth, 189.3 gross grams of heroin, $111,000 cash, 16 vehicles and 13 firearms.
This investigation began in April 2013 when the Colorado Springs Resident Office of the DEA received a tip about a possible drug trafficking organization operating in Pueblo.
“Investigators have uncovered and interrupted an international drug-smuggling ring that trafficked methamphetamine from Mexico to California and Colorado,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Barbara M. Roach of the DEA's Denver division. “In total, we have seized 66 pounds of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of over $3 Million and removed 13 firearms from the streets of Pueblo County. This is an excellent example of what can be accomplished by agencies cooperating across jurisdictional lines.”
Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor says that a multi-faceted approach is necessary in this type of investigation. "Our focus on illicit drug activity is intense. We are participants in the DEA regional task force, our agency’s narcotics unit is working at full steam, and our community continues to make a difference by reporting suspicious activity. This bust is a combination of that approach and we are thrilled to have been an integral part of the takedown, we will see a difference on the streets because of it."
Pueblo Police Chief Luis Velez echoed those sentiments. “None of us individually could have brought this case to its conclusion; however, together we become a formidable force. The amounts of drugs that are being brought into Pueblo are staggering; this particular case highlights the ongoing need to keep these substances off of our streets and in identifying those individuals who continue to take part in and encourage these drug operations.”