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Washington D.C.
Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Mexican National Sentenced to Federal Prison for Drug Trafficking

The defendant served as one of the primary interstate load runners for the conspiracy, which lasted from at least March 19, 2019, until February 12, 2020.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announces that Jesus Ruiz Velasco-Ochoa, age 38, of Guadalajara, Mexico, was sentenced to 8 years in federal prison after earlier pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine.

According to the plea agreement, co-defendant Candelaria Vallejo-Gallo, based in Aurora and Denver, organized the interstate transportation and local distribution of large quantities of illegal drugs. Co-conspirators worked with Mexico-based sources of supply to arrange pickups of illegal drugs from California-based intermediaries working with and for those Mexico-based sources of supply. During the course of the FBI’s investigation into her activities, Vallejo-Gallo arranged for the transport of large quantities of methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl. To effectuate her scheme of drug distribution, Vallejo-Gallo employed a network of co-conspirators, including interstate load runners, local runners, local multi-pound drug customers (who would, in turn, distribute to lower-level drug distributors), and lieutenants to coordinate the activities of the aforementioned coconspirators.

The defendant served as one of the primary interstate load runners for the conspiracy, which lasted from at least March 19, 2019, until February 12, 2020.  On July 31, 2019, for example, intercepted calls indicated the delivery of 46 pounds of methamphetamine in a load carried by the defendant. On October 21, 2019, two co-defendants started a load run to California at Candelaria Vallejo-Gallo’s direction, where they coordinated with the defendant and others to pay for drugs and transport drugs back to Colorado. On their way back to Colorado on October 23, 2019, Utah State Patrol stopped them and refused to allow the defendant, who was driving the load vehicle, to drive any further because he was unlicensed. Another co-defendant took over driving. The defendant transferred the methamphetamine he was carrying to the co-defendant so that she could complete the run. The Colorado State Patrol (CSP) conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle. A narcotics K-9 on scene alerted to the presence of narcotics in the vehicle. Based on the positive dog sniff, CSP searched the vehicle, discovering approximately 53 pounds of methamphetamine in a large suitcase inside the trunk of the sedan.

“Today’s announcement is the result of a lengthy investigation and prosecution of several defendants, which would not have been possible without the diligent work of our many law enforcement partners,” said United States Attorney Cole Finegan. “This combined effort took a significant drug trafficking organization off the streets of Denver and Aurora.”

“This individual was a member of a drug-trafficking organization (DTO) that distributed significant amounts of methamphetamine, fentanyl, heroin and cocaine onto the streets of metro Denver.  As a result of this multi-agency investigation, this DTO is no longer operational in Denver and Aurora,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Leonard Carollo. “FBI Denver is committed to working with federal, state and local partners in operations like this to dismantle DTOs, mitigate the distribution of illegal drugs and make our communities safer.”

“This multi-agency investigation and subsequent lengthy sentencing sends the strong message that HSI will use every resource and authority necessary to hold those accountable that jeopardize the safety of our communities for profit,” said Ryan L. Spradlin, Special Agent in Charge, HSI Denver. “This investigation that stretched across multiple states and crossed international borders can only be accomplished by dedicated law enforcement professionals that adopt a “One Badge” philosophy.”

“Targeting the profits generated by drug traffickers is a key step in the investigative process, and vital to disrupting and dismantling their organization,” said Andy Tsui, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation Denver Field Office. “IRS-CI, our law enforcement partners, and the United States Attorney’s Office will continue to work together to eliminate this threat to our communities.”

United States District Court Judge Raymond Moore sentenced Velasco-Ochoa on February 24, 2023.

Agents and deputies assigned to the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Strike Force from the FBI, HSI, ICE ERO, IRS-CI, and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation and were assisted by officers and deputies from the DEA, the Colorado State Patrol, the Aurora Police Department, and the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant United States Attorney Cyrus Y. Chung handled the prosecution of the case.

This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation.  OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

Read more at the Justice Department

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Homeland Security Today
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.
Homeland Security Today
Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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