Spreading border problems: Massive DEA investigation in Colorado links drug organization to Mexican cartel

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DENVER, CO- According to reports, details of an eight-month investigation into a Colorado-based drug trafficking organization with links to a Mexican cartel have been released by a grand jury indictment.

On December 1st, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced a 19-count indictment filed in Douglas County against 19 suspects. In addition, two related defendants were identified and arrested after the indictment. 

The eight-month investigation involved the seizure of more than 110,000 counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl. David Olesky, DEA assistant special agent in charge of the Denver division, said the investigation into the Colorado-based drug trafficking network began in April.

The DEA said the organization was led by 30-year-old Saul Ramon Rivera-Beltran of Thorton, who would order drugs and have couriers pick them up. In addition to the more than 110,000 fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills, the DEA said it seized numerous other drugs and weapons.

According to the indictment, the organization’s purpose was to distribute large amounts of drug including fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine throughout the Denver metro area as well as Arapahoe, Douglas, and Jefferson counties. 

The indictment also stated that at least 10 different “target telephones” were monitored over the course of the investigation. In April, a confidential informant recorded several phone calls with Samuel Padilla-Romo, who was selling methamphetamine in the 18th Judicial District and Denver metro area, to negotiate a $1,600 price for a half-pound of methamphetamine.

A meeting was set for May 1st, when, according to the indictment, the informant met with Padilla-Romo in the parking lot of the Safeway at 201 E. Jefferson Avenue in Englewood, and exchanged $1,600 for 210.1 grams of meth.

A wiretap order was signed for Padilla-Romo’s phone number in May and agents learned that he was negotiating drug deals with several individuals including Luis “Chilo” Jacob Zytacua, who reportedly also negotiated the purchase of guns.

A wiretap order was also signed for Zytacua’s phone number. In June, the informant continued to negotiate prices for more meth with Padilla-Romo at which time Romo mentioned he was going to get more from Jesus Tarango-Rodriguez. 

Agents then discovered several calls between Padilla-Romo and Tarango-Rodriguez where they spoke about prices for pounds of “work,” which investigators believed to be meth. According to the indictment, in one conversation, the two spoke about the price of ounces, pounds, and “balls”, which investigators identified as “eight balls” of meth.

Reportedly, through these phone calls, agents were able to determine that Tarango-Rodriguez was Padilla-Romo’s source of drugs. The investigation continued on for the remaining summer months and into the fall.

According to Olesky, the organization led by Rivera-Beltran also funneled money outside of the United States through the use of guns and violence.

Investigators discovered links between the organization and the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico and they believe the majority of the counterfeit pills were manufactured in Mexico. According to the district attorney’s office, Rivera-Beltran coordinated the drug shipments and deals from Mexico.

In addition to the counterfeit pills, Olesky said six kilos of methamphetamine, eight pounds of heroin, 11 kilos of cocaine, and about $450,000 in U.S. currency were also seized.

Investigators took possession of 28 firearms, multiple hand grenades, high-capacity magazines, and several set os body armor. Olesky said:

“This organization was preparing for a battle. One which played out on multiple occasions throughout the investigation.”

The district attorney’s office said the following defendants will be prosecuted in Douglas County:

Saul Ramon Rivera-Beltran;
Samuel Padilla-Romo;
Jesus Tarango-Rodriguez;
Misael Acosta-Garcia;
Martin Ivan Trevizo;
Austin Peterson;
Christian Beltran-Beltran;
Gustavo Labrador Valderrama;
Luis Jacob Zytacua;
Amanda Fair Wynn Bidgood;
Juan Francis Sarabia-Macinas;
Anita Kay Bateman;
Miguel Diarte;
Brayan Osiel Gonzales-Mancinas;
Jorge Escamilla;
Antonio Lorenzo Escamilla;
Ernestina Angela Montoya;
Cesar A Ortiz;
Alberto Sanchez Rodriguez;
Adrian Santana; and
Nancy Vargas.

Editor note: In 2020, we saw a nationwide push to “defund the police”.  While we all stood here shaking our heads wondering if these people were serious… they cut billions of dollars in funding for police officers. 

And as a result, crime has skyrocketed – all while the same politicians who said “you don’t need guns, the government will protect you” continued their attacks on both our police officers and our Second Amendment rights.

And that’s exactly why we’re launching this national crowdfunding campaign as part of our efforts to help “re-fund the police”.

For those looking for a quick link to get in the fight and support the cause, click here.

Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters?  Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you.  Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories.  Click to check it out.

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Cartel involvement? Body of missing elementary school teacher from Georgia found in Mexico

November 13th, 2021

ZAPOPAN, MEXICO – The body of a teacher reported missing out of Lawrenceville, Georgia was found in Mexico…she had been missing since October of 2021.

A teacher with Benefield Elementary School, Alexandra Morales, had taken personal leave from the school to travel to Zapopan, Mexico to attend to some type of family business.

The family reported Morales was missing on October 30th where she was last seen leaving a concert in Guadalajara, Mexico.

For nine days her family searched for her until her body was located by police inside of her car on November 9th.

While there have been few details that have emerged surrounding her death, police in Mexico have reported that her boyfriend, Fidel Barragan, has been arrested in connection with her death.

Telemundo in Atlanta interviewed the uncle of Morales, Ostin Cuenca, who asked the US authorities to follow the investigation that is taking place in Mexico. Cuenca believes that the arrest of Barragan is only the beginning and feels that his entire family may be involved in what Mexican authorities report as being a kidnapping.

Morales was a first-grade teacher at Benefield Elementary School and had touched numerous students with her caring personality. One parent of one of Morales’ students, Maria Palacios, spoke to CBS 4 about the loss of the teacher:

“My heart sank. She was so natural at it and the kids loved her. They had so much fun.”

Palacios spoke of how difficult it was to explain the news that the beloved teacher would not be returning to the school to her six-year-old daughter.  She said:

“Before I could get the words out, my daughter was crying already. I had to respond, explaining what it means to not come back, that Ms. Morales was not coming back.”

Morales had been employed with the school since 2019 and was supposed to be back in school at the beginning of November. Benefield Elementary School Principal Shonda Gipson-Stevens addressed the loss of the teacher in an email sent to parents:

“After notifying our staff members, we made phone calls to the family of students in Ms. Morales’ class so that they could comfort their child.

That said, we know this loss touches many in our school community and we want to support our students and staff members during this difficult time. Our counselors are here to listen, to talk, to assist with the questions, and to help with the emotions that accompany this type of loss.”

Family and friends of Morales set up a GoFundMe page to help the family bring Morales’ body back to the United States so she can be buried here. The organizer of the page, Gabriela Rojas, wrote:

“It comes with a heavy heart to share that Alexandra Morales is no longer with us.

“We appreciate all of your help and efforts during this challenging time. In support of the Morales family, we would like to raise funds to alleviate the financial burden that they will incur throughout this difficult time.

“Alexa was adored by her parents and loved by her two brothers. She had a passion for adventure and traveling around the world was her joy.

She was the most caring teacher to all of her students and her first-grade babies will miss her dearly. She was a loyal friend to many and a proud Sister of our sorority, Sigma Lambda Upsilon/Senoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority, Inc.”

As of now, the GoFundMe page has raised just over $26,000 of the $30,000 goal that has been sent. Comments posted on this page show that Morales truly made a lasting impact on both the students at the school as well as the parents.

Do you want to join our private family of first responders and supporters?  Get unprecedented access to some of the most powerful stories that the media refuses to show you.  Proceeds get reinvested into having active, retired and wounded officers, their families and supporters tell more of these stories.  Click to check it out.

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Joe Rogan warns: If the “defund the police” movement keeps going, U.S. could easily end up like Mexico

In one of his most recent podcasts, Joe Rogan issued a stark warning concerning the ongoing leftist campaign to defund police departments all over the county, noting that if this push continues, the United States could soon resemble Mexico. 

During his podcast, he discussed the consequences of cutting police funds, pointing out how the move has turned into a full-blown “disaster” in Austin, Texas. He also mocked the people who supported the policy as “out of touch and unrealistic.”

In the podcast, Rogan was speaking with comedian Annie Lederman about the homeless crisis in Los Angeles, when she brought up the defund the police movement. Rogan said:

“Cops don’t do anything if someone jumps into someone’s backyard, they don’t arrest them. Like, you have to do like $900 worth of theft before they’ll even arrest you. If they do arrest you, they’ll just put you right back out on the street again.”

Lederman asked a follow-up question:

“And has it always been that way or is this after the defunding?”

Rogan responded by saying:

“After the defunding. The defunding of the police in Austin has been a disaster, too and New York’s been a disaster. It’s terrible everywhere. It’s a terrible idea.”

He added:

“Also the idea that you are going to send social workers to handle someone’s domestic violence case is (expletive) bananas! And it’s a lot of people that don’t understand violence that think that’s OK and they have this utopian idea.”

 

Rogan continued to discuss how defunding the police would lead to increased violence and warlords taking over streets and neighborhoods. He said:

“What’s happening in Mexico could easily happen here with no police presence. People have to understand that.”

After discussing the defunding the police movement, the two discussed the homeless problem more and criticized officials for letting the crisis get worse. Lederman pointed out that there is a program that encourages homeless people to pick up their litter and keep the area around them clean at all times, to which Rogan responded by saying:

“You can’t camp! How about that? Get out of here! Or you gotta figure your life out!”

In the beginning of April, Fox News reported that major cities in parts of the U.S. that slashed their police department funding have seen an uptick in violent crimes over the past year.

Cities such as Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York City, Portland, and Austin have defunded their departments, leading to officer lay offs, canceled recruiting classes, and a retreat from hiring goals. As these cities were left with small budgets and less support, murder and other violent crimes have sky rocketed.

 

Violent crime rates in Minneapolis surged in 2020 of the death of George Floyd. Between December 11, 2020 and March 28, 2021, murders in the city rose 46 percent compared with the 13 reported during the same time period the year prior. 

In Portland, records show that murders more than tripled year-over-year. Police statistics from July 2020, when the city’s budget cuts were made and February 2021, show homicides skyrocketed 270.6 percent compared to the same time the year prior. 

In the first two months of 2021 alone, Portland reported 17 murders, a 1,600 percent increase from the single murder reported during the first two months of 2020. The past year, 2020, was reportedly the deadliest in the city in more than a quarter-century.

 

Murders in New York City are up 11.8 percent year-to-date as of March 21st, with 75 reported this year compared to the 68 reported from 2020. 

The LAPD reported a 38 percent increase in murders in 2020, despite the coronavirus mandates that kept most residents indoors. For 2021, murders are up 28.3 percent as of March 13th, with 77 killings reported this year to date compared to the 60 reported during the same time in 2020.

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