City of Colorado Springs / Police / News

Simultaneous Investigations Result in Significant Seizures & Arrests

Thursday, August 23, 2012, 4:00 PM [RELEASE AT WILL]


Three separate investigations have successfully concluded with the arrest of 14 individuals responsible for trafficking and distributing heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana throughout the Pikes Peak Region.


The success is attributed to the tremendous efforts, knowledge and skills of the Colorado Springs Police Department’s Metro Vice, Narcotics and Intelligence Unit (VNI), Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Colorado Springs Resident Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Southern Colorado Safe Streets Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations {HSI}, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, Pueblo Police Department, Pueblo Sheriff’s Office, Denver Police Department, and the Colorado State Patrol.    


Beginning in October 2011, Colorado Springs Police Department Metro Vice, Narcotics and Intelligence, Colorado Springs Resident Office (CSRO) Group 2 Investigators and FBI Safe Streets Task Force members obtained information that led to the identification of several members of this drug trafficking organization (DTO).  Investigators learned that this organization was responsible for distributing heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine in Colorado Springs.  Operations conducted during this 10 month investigation resulted in the seizures of U.S. Currency (USC), narcotics and vehicles utilized by this poly-drug trafficking organization. Information learned from the Colorado Springs investigation led to coordinated investigations in seven states within the U.S. as well as Mexico.


During the course of this 10 month investigation, investigators seized approximately 6.8 pounds of heroin, 9.75 pounds of methamphetamine, 1 kilogram of cocaine, $152,755 in U.S. Currency, and 6 vehicles. 


During the aforementioned investigation, investigators learned of a second independent heroin trafficking cell operating in Colorado Springs and Pueblo. The parallel investigation culminated on August 16, 2012 with the arrest of two Colorado Springs residents after investigators intercepted a suspected load vehicle traveling from California to Colorado Springs. Inside the vehicle investigators recovered 4 pounds of heroin along with ¼ pound of cocaine. Investigators also seized an additional ¼ pound of heroin and 3 vehicles during a court authorized search of a Colorado Springs apartment.


In an unrelated investigation, DEA Colorado Springs Resident Office (CSRO) received information on August 14, 2012 from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) regarding a marijuana distributor with approximately four hundred pounds of marijuana being stored in Denver, Colorado.  Further investigation by the CSRO, HSI, and the DEA Strike Force in Denver resulted in the recovery of approximately 600 pounds of marijuana, the seizure of two vehicles, and the arrest of five individuals.


Through the successful partnerships forged in Colorado Springs between local and federal law enforcement, investigators from multiple agencies employed a number of successful strategies to eliminate three drug trafficking cells responsible for distributing significant quantities of narcotics in the community. The narcotics seized during the investigation are valued at $5,630,000.00.


The below 14 individuals were arrested in conjunction with the above investigations:


Juan Ramon ESPINOZA-ALDANA                                         Javier FRANCISCO-JIMENEZ

Maria Isabel MENDOZA-PALACIOS                                       MARGUEZ-CHAVEZ, Guadalupe

MATA-ROTAS, Ernesto                                                          NUNEZ-RIVERA, Angel Eduard

DOMINGUEZ-OROZCO, Mario Alberto                                  SOTELO-LOPEZ, Cesar

Jacinto PONCE-AMPARO                                                       Matias ALEMAN-SANCHEZ

Miguel Angel GAMBOA-TASSO                                              Enrique CUEVAS-DEL TORO

Zakariya Angel SALAZAR                                                       Leo RIOS-LUCERO