DENVER (CBS4) – Several high-ranking members of a motorcycle club accused of operating a drug trafficking ring in the Denver-metro area have been indicted by a Colorado grand jury.

TOP: Philip Lee Duran, Michael Derek Mensen, Lornezo Leuis Sojo, Hugo A. Vaca
BOTTOM: Nicholas Murillo, Julieann Nicole Linebarger, Erika Navarrette, Zackaria Bengheshir (credit: Colorado Attorney’s Office)

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman announced on Wednesday that of the eight people indicted, several are high-ranking members of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club.

Coffman said that more than 2 1/2 pounds of methamphetamine were seized in the investigation called “Operation Tick and Flea Collar.” The street value of the meth is approximately $40,000.

The code name of the operation was given in relation to the leaders of the drug trafficking operation, Philip Lee Duran, 40, also known as “Bandido Fee;” and Michael Derek Mensen, 45, also known as “Bandido Tick.” A third leader indicted has been identified as Lornezo Leuis Sojo, 39.

(credit: Colorado Attorney General)

(credit: Colorado Attorney General)

The men are suspected of violating the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act by allegedly trafficking large quantities of methamphetamine, unlawful possession of firearms, money laundering and conspiracy.

“Under Duran’s leadership, this group sourced its drug supply from a variety of wholesale distributors and then sold them throughout the Denver-metro area,” Coffman said. “Law enforcement agencies across Colorado again coordinated to interrupt a drug-trafficking operation run by the Bandidos Motorcycle Club which is well known for its use of violence and intimidation.”

Others charged and awaiting trial in connection with the criminal organization are:

Hugo A. Vaca, 36
Nicholas Murillo, 23
Julieann Nicole Linebarger, 34
Erika Navarrette, 25
Zackaria Bengheshir, 34

The investigation began last August with the help of the Metro Gang Task Force, the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

All of the suspects were previously arrested except Duran who was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon during a traffic stop in Arvada.

Additional Information From The Attorney General’s Office

Anyone with information who wishes to remain anonymous should call CRIME STOPPERS at 720-913-STOP (7867), or text a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) and then use the title “DMCS” and enter the message.


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