DENVER – A former Colorado district judge pleaded guilty to obstructing a federal task force investigation of a large-scale cocaine trafficking organization back in 2019, United States Attorney Jason R. Dunn said Tuesday.
Ryan Kamada, 41, of Windsor, pleaded guilty after it was discovered that while in his official capacity as a judge, he shared details of the task force investigation to a friend, who then tipped off the target individual.
Court documents state that beginning in or around October 2018, a federal task force was investigating a drug trafficking organization that was distributing large quantities of cocaine throughout northern Colorado. One of the members of the organization was a drug trafficker who lived in Greeley and who Kamada had known since high school.
A few months later, in April of 2019, Kamada – while serving as District Court Judge of the 19th Judicial District of Colorado – received a phone call from a task force officer who was seeking a search warrant related to the investigation into the drug trafficker.
The officer then pointed out Kamada was associated with the drug trafficker on social media and as a result, Kamada recused himself from the case.
“But early the next morning, Kamada called his best friend, Geoffrey Chacon, who had also known the drug trafficker since childhood,” a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice states. “Kamada told Chacon that law enforcement was “watching” the drug trafficker’s house, car and phone, and instructed Chacon to “stay away” from the drug trafficker. Chacon subsequently informed the drug trafficker about the warrant and modified Chacon’s own behavior in order to avoid law enforcement attention.”
Facts contained in the plea agreement show the information Chacon provided to the drug trafficker also caused the drug trafficker to change his pattern of conduct and “substantially interfered with the task force’s investigation.”
The documents further state Chacon then relayed information he received from Kamada to the drug trafficker before destroying records of their communications to hamper efforts by law enforcement to tie Chacon to the drug trafficker.
In November of that year, Chacon pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of destruction of records with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation.
The FBI’s Denver Field Office is investigating the case with the help of the Greeley Police Department.