LONGMONT, Colo. - Officers have arrested 21 suspects since Tuesday in a crackdown on what police call an unprecedented drug trafficking operation in Longmont.
Since launching Operation Bad Nickname in March, investigators have seized a large number of guns and broken up a ring that brought 40 pounds of methamphetamine into the community worth $3.3 million in street value, said Longmont Police Cmdr. Jeff Satur.
The operation got its name from the suspects giving each other bad nicknames like "Filthy," "White Trash" and "Kid Rock."
Those held in the roundup include Gretta Akin, Bridget Bonin, Arian Melissa Campbell, Ricard Cardona, Josue Aurelia-Castaneda, Nicole Renae DePaolo, CherishFortier, Michael Kaiser, Brike Korte, Donna Lopez, Firchard Matthew Mora, Roseanna Morin, Roy Joseph Nieto, Michael Reed, Terry "Bridge Romero, Randiel Rovnak, Julie Sall, Geraldine "Dom Vodicka, Oraina Nicole Ward and Tamra Jane Wishcop.
"This was probably the most significant amount of meth that we have seen dealt in Longmont in the history of the police department," Satur said. "They were moving large, large quantities of meth in this area. It was unprecedented."
The investigation involved officers from the Longmont Police Department, the Larimer County Crime Impact Unit and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.
Satur said the operation began with a local drug case at a mobile home on Highway 287 five months ago and ended with 30 people being indicted on 197 counts last week, Satur said. Defendants face a range of charges, including racketeering, drug possession and distribution and conspiracy.
Starting about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, officers and agents because rounding up suspects in Boulder, Larimer and Weld counties, police said. All the major players are behind bars and Satur said police expect to have the eight suspects who remain at large in custody soon.
Investigators monitoring wire-taps on telephones for 45 days were able to get an overview of the trafficking operations and round up the ring leaders earlier this month, Satur said.
Undercover officers "were running ragged watching deals, listening to phone calls, watching deals," Satur said. "They were working. They put their lives on hold for this case."
The investigation underscored the scourge of methamphetamine.
"Meth is just a terrible, terrible drug in your community," Satur said. "It's extremely addictive. It tears up families because they start stealing" to support their drug habit, he added. "They break into cars, they steal from our retailers, so this has an impact way down to lower levels."
It was a dangerous operation as police conducted surveillance and eventually arrested dealers who were often carrying guns, Satur said. "We recovered a significant amount of weapons on the street."