DENVER (CBS4) – A city-wide drug bust has dismantled a massive cocaine ring involving local gang members and international cartel members operating in Los Angeles and Mexico, according to the US Attorney’s office.
Starting early Thursday morning SWAT teams from various local and federal police agencies invaded dozens of neighborhood homes across the Denver metro area, including in Aurora, Denver and in many more locations across Adams County.
“This is a big operation and it is a big deal for Colorado,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.
In the bust 97 people were charged and 80 people were arrested in what was one of the largest drug roundups in state history. Police said 17 people remain at large.
“In addition to the 97 indicted, another 25 were previously arrested for their roles in violent bank takeover robberies from December 2009 to January 2011,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge James Yacone.
Federal agents said those bank robberies lead to gang and task force teams discovering the connections– five sets of investigations– that led to the bust.
Sources close to the investigation say multiple branches of cocaine operators were taken down.
Arrest warrants were filed both through the state and the US Attorney’s office. Sources also say the raids and arrests have resulted in at least 12 children being taken by child protective services agents.
“When you have cocaine stored there, large amounts of cocaine and guns where people know that’s happened, obviously that’s not place for a kid to be,” said Adams County District Attorney Don Quick.
The operation involves agencies from the DEA, ICE, FBI, Metro Gang and North Metro Drug Task Force.
Seized in the busts were 26,000 grams of cocaine, 1,000 grams of crack, 1 pound of meth, $415,000 in cash, 11 weapons– including an assault rifle and handguns.
Many of those arrested in the operation were set to appear in federal court on Thursday afternoon.