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DEA BUSTS 29 IN COLO., SEIZES DRUGS AND MONEY – AGENTS SAY STATE USED AS DISTRIBUTION CENTER

Rocky Mountain News (CO) – Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Author/Byline: Clayton Woullard , Rocky Mountain News
Edition: Final
Section: News
Page: 25A
Authorities have seized $2.8 million and charged 29 people in connection with a drug trafficking operation in Colorado.

The charges were brought after a nearly two-year investigation, dubbed Operation Denali, by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The 29 – mainly Colorado residents – are charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine, which carries a prison sentence of 10 years to life upon conviction.

Operation Denali was one of three nationally coordinated operations announced Tuesday as part of the DEA’s “Money Trail Initiative,” which attempts to dismantle drug trafficking organizations by targeting their financing.

A total of 78 arrests were made in Operation Denali. Authorities also seized 174 kilograms of cocaine, 294 pounds of marijuana, 9 pounds of methamphetamines and 21 vehicles.

Thirteen of those charged were said by authorities to be fugitives.

“You have to pay attention to every detail and every deal in this investigation,” said Agent Karen Flowers, a spokeswoman for the DEA.

“Two years may seem like a long time, but when you think about that the whole transportation organization was dismantled from top to bottom, the time and effort is well spent.”

The group was allegedly part of an operation that brought cocaine and other drugs from Mexico into Colorado, where they were divided for distribution throughout the nation.

Among those arrested was Amado Medina, 30, of Colorado, who Flowers said is the ringleader.

DEA offices in Colorado Springs, Denver, Wyoming and Ohio were among several that participated.

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