A shocking link between drug trafficking in Colorado and security concerns at the southern border of the United States is being revealed in federal court documents in Colorado Springs, Colorado (KRDO).
During the months of October and November, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) diligently monitored a drug trafficking organization known as a “DTO.” This organization has connections to both Denver and Colorado Springs.
Fifteen individuals believed to be part of this organization were charged by a federal grand jury on November 15th. The charges stem from their involvement in the distribution of over 400 grams of fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin. These illegal substances were transported across state lines and distributed within the state of Colorado.
Several individuals named in the court documents, including a man from Colorado Springs, are currently in ICE custody due to suspected immigration violations, as per official records.
According to court records obtained by KRDO13 Investigates, the organization’s objective is to facilitate the transfer of funds generated from the distribution of fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine from Colorado to Mexico.
Since February 2022, the investigators at the DEA Denver Office have confiscated over 19 kilograms of methamphetamine, 29 kilograms of counterfeit oxycodone pills containing fentanyl, 16 kilograms of heroin, 4 kilograms of cocaine, along with several firearms and U.S. currency believed to be drug proceeds, all directly linked to this drug trafficking organization (DTO).
According to court documents, the U.S. government stated that the organization aimed to sustain its operations in Mexico by using the proceeds from the illicit drug trade in Colorado. The money would be sent back to Mexico through wire transfers under different names.
Below is a list of individuals who have been federally charged for their involvement in the DTO:
On October 19, a federal drug raid took place at an apartment complex in Colorado. Agents from the DEA carried out the operation at one of the units in the 25 Broadmoor Apartment Homes, located in southwest Colorado Springs. During the raid, they apprehended Jose David Escatel-Villasenor, who is believed to be an undocumented immigrant.
Inside the apartment, authorities discovered a significant quantity of illegal drugs being distributed in the Pikes Peak region. Among the confiscated items were $9,919 in cash, 1,351.3 grams of fentanyl concealed within counterfeit “M-30” pills, small bags containing substances such as heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine, as well as drug ledgers and pressure cookers.
According to court records, this apartment is believed to have served as a “stash location” for drug runners to collect and sell drugs for profit. Federal court documents reveal that the proceeds from these sales would then be sent back to the DTO leader in Denver and ultimately returned to Mexico.
Advocates of tighter border security at the southern border are calling for systematic changes to the way undocumented immigrants are held accountable in Colorado, as outlined in this criminal case.
John Fabbricatore, a former ICE Field Office Director and board member for the National Immigration Center for Enforcement, made the following statement regarding this case:
The chaos on our southern border has allowed unmitigated access to transnational criminal organizations and the drugs they peddle. With over 100,000 people dying from drug overdoses a year, and the majority of those from opioids, local law enforcement must continue to work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, to enforce our immigration laws and keep criminal organizations from harming the people of the United States. Criminals take advantage of states with immigration sanctuary status in hopes of avoiding detection. While this case highlights great law enforcement work, the efforts would be better with full cooperation between ICE, and all Colorado law enforcement entities. — John Fabbricatore