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Colombian Held On Weapons Charge Released From Jail

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Investigator Rick Sallinger
Hector Diaz leaving court on Friday (credit: CBS)

Hector Diaz leaving court on Friday (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – A Colombian man is now out of jail after being arrested as part of an investigation into whether a drug cartel has gotten involved in Colorado’s legalized marijuana trade.

CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger was on hand as Hector Diaz was released while awaiting trial.

A plea of not guilty was entered Thursday. While Diaz was not on the list of target subjects that had been made public, he is now.

After two weeks behind bars Diaz was released on bond. His attorney and family were by his side.

A photo that was taken last February got Diaz into trouble. Federal prosecutors claim it shows him illegally in possession of a weapon. There were five assault rifles, a shotgun and five handguns found in the raid of the $2 million Cherry Hills Village home where Diaz was living.

Ammunition magazines as well as a photo of a semi-automatic rifle were submitted as evidence in the case.

In court Diaz used an interpreter. He is the only one arrested so far following the Nov. 22 raids on 16 locations. Federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service hit medical marijuana dispensaries, grow facilities, offices and homes.

Sources have indicated the raids were part of an investigation into whether a Colombian drug cartel has entered Colorado’s marijuana industry.

A letter from the police in Barranquilla, Colombia vouched to the judge in Denver that Diaz was a person of integrity, honesty and good moral principles. He is now out of jail on a $25,000 bond but must be under GPS monitoring and stay away from other targets of the investigation.

Diaz is but the tip of the iceberg in what appears to be a very large scale investigation, most of which remains hidden in sealed documents, seized evidence and in potential future raids and arrests.

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