Investigation of auto theft ring involving meth users results in arrest, seizure of guns and drugs

Robert Muniz arrested on an outstanding warrant

AURORA, Colo. - An investigation into a large auto theft ring believed to be responsible for several crimes throughout the state resulted in the arrest of one man and the seizure of drugs and stolen guns.

The East Metro Auto Theft Team -- or EMATT -- executed a search warrant at a house at 5545 Pecos Street in Adams County on Monday.

Inside the home, police seized methamphetamine and prescription drugs and more than 30 guns, said Aurora Police Sgt. Stephen Redfearn, an EMATT supervisor.

The guns included two "high-powered sniper rifles," a military-style SKS semiautomatic rifle and many more rifles and handguns, Redfearn said.

"A lot of the guns were stolen during burglaries of people's residences and storage unit burglaries and from vehicle break-ins," Redfearn said.

Police arrested Robert Muniz, 58, on an outstanding warrant out of Adams County. Muniz was wanted on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon causing injury and two robbery charges, according to court records.

"What we believe was going on in the situation is people were probably bringing (Muniz) stolen items in exchange for drugs and cash," Redfearn said. "We think that he was reselling the guns."

While Muniz has a 10-page arrest history in Colorado, he does not appear to have a felony conviction that would prohibit him from possessing guns.

However, one man who is a longtime resident of the raided home, which is owned by his relatives, does have four felony convictions stemming from a cocaine trafficking case , according to court records. That man has not been arrested or charged in the house raid.

Redfearn said EMATT continues to investigate the auto theft ring and the drug and stolen gun seizures. More arrests are expected.

"In the course of this investigation, we found multiple stolen vehicles that led us to that location," Redfearn said. "It looks like they were being worked on and changing hands there."

The cars were stolen across several jurisdictions, some from as far away as Colorado Springs, he said.

"We believe they were using a lot of those cars for other criminal purposes," said Redfearn. He declined to describe the crimes the stolen cars might have been used for, citing a need to protect the ongoing investigation.

The auto theft ring has been linked to multiple crimes throughout Colorado, police said.

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