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Colombian Arrested In Connection With Marijuana Dispensaries Investigation

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Investigator Rick Sallinger
Hector Diaz (photo from the criminal complaint)

Hector Diaz (photo from the criminal complaint)

DENVER (CBS4/AP) – A Colombian man in the United State legally has been charged with one count of being an alien illegally in possession of a firearm.

According to the Department of Justice, Hector Diaz, 49, was arrested last Friday after Drug Enforcement Administration agents and other law enforcement officers executed 16 federal search warrants pursuant to a single ongoing criminal investigation that included raids on several marijuana dispensaries.

Diaz was found with the firearms when agents executed a warrant at a multi-million dollar home in Cherry Hills Village.

“Diaz, an alien who is lawfully in the United States, was present at one of the search locations, a residence in Cherry Hills Village. While concluding the security sweep of the residence, agents and officers found five assault rifles, one shotgun and five handguns, as well as a large cache of ammunition,” the Department of Justice said in a prepared statement.

The raids were a part of an investigation into whether a Colombian drug cartel had been illegally participating in Colorado’s legalization of medical marijuana.

Diaz made his first court appearance Monday after court documents in his case were unsealed. The documents include a photograph that investigators say shows Diaz wearing a Drug Enforcement Administration hat and holding two semi-automatic rifles. Two handguns are also apparently stuck inside his pants. Court documents say Diaz told investigators he was drinking when the picture was taken.

The Cherry Hills Village home was being rented. It was listed at $5,600 a month.

Diaz faces 10 years in federal prison and up to a $250,000 fine.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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