ACET arrests distribution crime ring

Suspects believed to be part of larger operation tied to organized crime

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— In one of its largest operations to date, the All Crimes Enforcement Team arrested 11 Hispanic men Tuesday night in Craig believed to be tied to organized crime.

"To my knowledge," ACET Commander Garrett Wiggins said, "this is the biggest organization we've been able to investigate and bring down. This individual organization was very, very hard to infiltrate. We were able to do that.

"They're part of a larger drug trafficking organization we believe are tied to Mexican organized crime."

About 8 p.m. Tuesday, 25 to 30 authorities from the Moffat County Sheriff's Office, Craig Police Department, 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office and Immigration and Customs Enforcement served a search warrant at an apartment complex in the 400 block of Tucker Street in Craig.

The search warrant stemmed from a lengthy methamphetamine and cocaine distribution case ACET had been investigating, Wiggins said.

According to the Moffat County Jail, each of the suspects were arrested on suspicion of unlawful distribution. They are:

• Horacio Contreras-Alcala, 34

• Armando Zavala-Flores, 37

• Marco Contreras-Alcala, 31

• Juan Luis Contreras-Alcola, 24

• Heriberto Chavez-Hernandez, 21

• Edgar Bladimir Pena-Villalva, 28

• Arcadio Contreras-Alcala, 28

• Randalfo Valenzuela-Lopez, 23

• Ariel Iran Pena-Diaz, 27

• Abel Gonzalez-Vivanca, 35

• Julio Cesar Carlin-Robles, 36

One of the suspects, Marco Contreras-Alcala, also was arrested on suspicion of being a "special offender" and prohibited use of a weapon.

According to jail records, each of the men was born in Mexico.

ACET reported that at least 10 of them are in the U.S. illegally - one of them claims to be a legal resident, but the task force can find no proof of it - and none appear to have legitimate employment.

Wiggins said the men are suspected of "operating one of the largest drug trafficking organizations in Northwest Colorado." Money, drug paraphernalia, a firearm and methamphetamine and cocaine with a $30,000 street value were seized during the search.

The men arrested are suspected of selling drugs in Moffat, Routt and other Colorado counties, ACET reported.

Wiggins said he believed the suspects were bringing the narcotics into the U.S. from Mexico.

"This is a huge accomplishment in the war against drugs affecting our communities in Northwest Colorado," he said. "This is a perfect example of the type of success that can be accomplished when local law enforcement agencies and concerned citizens work together as a team of one to keep our communities safe and drug free."

There were no injuries to either authorities or suspects during the search.

"When you're dealing with these type of individuals, the potential for violence is always there," Wiggins said. "But, we hit them hard and fast and they didn't realize what was happening until it was too late."

Tuesday's arrest is the largest for ACET since nabbing 15 people in December 2005 for methamphetamine-related charges. That sweep, completed under ACET's former title, the Greater Routt and Moffat Narcotic Enforcement Team, was one of the largest in Moffat County history.

Wiggins said the latest sweep was different in that the suspects arrested were believed to be part of a singular organization, rather than individual dealers like in December 2005.

Formal charges are expected to be filed against the suspects Friday, the 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office reported. Prosecutors anticipate bond for the suspects will be set today.

The District Attorney's Office reported that, as a general rule, a stern approach is taken on distribution cases.

"Our office feels that illegal drugs are one of the biggest threats to Moffat County," prosecutors stated in a press release. "We intend to vigorously prosecute all drug distribution cases in order to make our community a safer place."

Wiggins said Tuesday's arrests should "serve as a warning to all those who choose to commit crimes and deal life-destroying illegal drugs that burden our way of life, that we, as a community, will not sit idle and watch crime and drugs destroy our neighborhoods and communities."

"Those individuals (who) choose to make crime and drugs a career choice might be the next individuals to make the news because we will never stop fighting what is worth fighting for," he said. "Never."

Comments

CindyLou 6 years, 9 months ago

Nice!!!! So we arrest the individuals who do this - Big deal. They will likely either be let go, at which time they will just disappear since they are undocumented, or get deported, at afterwhich they will come right back illegally. Either way, this arrest is just a minor inconvenience to the pushers and won't do much to stop drugs or trafficing. In the country of Bali you would get life in prison. They have zero tollerance and as a result few attempt to traffic drugs because of the high consequence.

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grannyrett 6 years, 8 months ago

Dempsey-"ILLEGAL immigrants are breaking the law. They are in this country ILLEGALLY. What part of this don't you understand?

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dempsey 6 years, 9 months ago

Stop picking on all Illegal immigrants not all of them are drug dealers yes I agree not to let the drug people come into our country but there are also the good people from Mexico trying to make a life. I think Craig cops should go after the head drug lord that goes to Mexico and brings back the drugs and then gets the illegal people to do their dirty work for them so they don't get caught themselves. Yeah this person has a normal job blends right into the community like if they are so innocent it makes me sick that the cops or investigators don't see it. Think about how could a person making mininum wage afford brand new vehicles every year. If this person was caught it would make a big difference to the Craig community.

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nativegirl 6 years, 8 months ago

Dempsey, anyone who has info on drug dealers or any other crime information can easily get that information to the police. The PD takes information through dispatch 824-8111, through Crimestoppers 824-3535, you can walk in to the PD and talk to an officer, request an officer to call you or come speak with you, or you can e-mail a crime tip by going to www.craigpolice.org and looking on the home page for the link. A person does not have to give their name when reporting a crime, but may do so if they choose to.

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sickandtired 6 years, 9 months ago

To Dempsey, How retarded are you? "Stop picking on all the illegal immigrants" Since when does busting a bunch of drug dealers who just happen to be illegal mean that all of a sudden we're picking on them? Its because of ignorant people like you who want to be nice to absolutely everyone, and help them financially every way possible, is why we have a huge immigration problem! Bravo to the police force for a job well done! Now lets see how the DA and the judge handle this or just give them a slap on the wrist like they've done on all the meth dealers. If this doesn't get nipped in the bud now, we will soon be seeing Mexican street gangs like Grand Jct. is.

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grannyrett 6 years, 8 months ago

Well said native. I, too, have noticed some Hispanic people who do not speak English who drive auto's that my husband and I could never afford. If they are in this country illegally, how do they get financing, insurance, tags, and all the other stuff you need to afford vehicles like this? My husband and I both-before we retired-made way over minimum wages, and were buying our own house, cars, and toys. Makes you wonder. Drugs are such a problem, and there has got to be a way to crack down harder on it. Somethings don't look right. I guess it's a matter of-If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, then it must be........I'm sure undercover agents could go a long way towards doing a lot more to cracking down on the drug dealers. You wouldn't believe the drugs that the Border Patrol capture, and it's only the tip of the iceberg. Tunnels under the border are hard to find, and are mostly found by accident-like when a truck driving over one causes it to collapse. That is why the Minutemen are trying to help. They know that there will never be enough agents to patrol the border. They also know that it is going to take average citizens to help secure this nations borders. It's not just states along the border that have minutemen. Most states have a chapter. The illegal border crosser is not just along our southern border. Met a couple from Canada this winter, and they have a lot of problems with illegals too. Makes you wonder where those illegals are from!

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kcamom 6 years, 8 months ago

While many dealers bringing boatloads of drugs to the US are illegal-many are US citizens who use the cheap labor... hmm sound familiar.

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Nique 6 years, 8 months ago

Legal or not we all break the law.DON"T WE!!!!!!! some of us do understand why some immigrants have to go through so much to get to the USA. Just to live a little of the "American dream".Sure they are illegals that have children born here,But would any of us like it if we were separated from our children?like most of them have?RIGHT!!!!!we wouldn't HUH?!...

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Taylor 6 years, 8 months ago

Lame - don't go to a foreign country illegally to have babies...or take them back home with you.

Of course there are "legal" criminals. They are in jail. If you think we are so tough on illegal immigrants - check out the laws in Mexico and other countries. The US is a cake walk in comparison. Hmmmm...perhaps that is why we are taken advantage of.

Want to live the American Dream? Sure, who wouldn't? Just do it legally. Pay into the "dream" like the rest of the legal citizens. America is not literally "free"...and for God's sake...learn the language. You will more likely be accepted and at least be able to fly under the radar. If you do not speak our language, you may as well put a sign on your forehead that says "illegal".

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