February 10, 2012- Over eighty people have been taken into custody in what state, local and federal law enforcement authorities are calling Colorado’s largest drug bust in history. The investigation started while authorities were investigating a set of violent bank robberies.
Authorities said more than 58 lbs of cocaine, 2 lbs of crack and a pound of methamphetamines were seized in an operation that took two years and involved more than 500 federal authorities and police officers. A part from the drugs, agents seized weapons, including handguns and assault rifles, and cash that totaled over $400,000.
The probe into drug trafficking was started in December of 2009. It evolved from an investigation by the FBI of 16 bank robberies in the area of Denver’s downtown. Daniel Oates, Police Chief of Aurora, Colorado said, “Violent activity by gang members triggered the investigation. Once our focus was directed to them we discovered a large and complex drug operation.”
Prosecutors said more than 25 gang members were charged in the bank robberies. Over 90 people were charged in state or federal court related to the drug roundup. To date, only 17 of those charged have not been apprehended said authorities. If convicted, the majority of the defendants charged with federal crimes will face sentences between 10 years to life and fines that could reach $10 million.