Colorado drug bust squashes meth, heroin, fentanyl ring; invokes ‘drug kingpin’ statute

A total of 30 people accused of participating in a Denver-based drug trafficking ring with suspected ties to a Mexican cartel were indicted Wednesday, multiple media outlets reported.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Denver, federal agents seized about 400 pounds of methamphetamine and 15,000 fentanyl pills disguised as prescription oxycodone, KMGH reported.

The investigation, which began in 2018, also yielded five pounds of heroin and four pounds of cocaine, the TV station reported.

Of the 30 people indicted Wednesday, 25 have been arrested on drug trafficking charges and five – including four believed to be in Mexico – remain at large.

Candelaria Vallejo-Gallo, a Mexican national living in Aurora, was indicted under the federal "drug kingpin" statute as the group's accused leader and faces 20 years to life in prison, KMGH reported.

“This is a very significant operation that took a massive amount of drugs and a large number of drug traffickers off our streets,” United States Attorney Jason R. Dunn said in a statement.

Charges for all involved include racketeering, money laundering and conspiracy to distribute illicit drugs, Aurora's Sentinel reported.

Federal agents also seized large amounts of cash, several cars and a weapons cache that included assault rifles, the newspaper reported.

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