LONGMONT, Colo. — About 20 people were arrested Monday after a months-long investigation into a criminal organization suspected of distributing drugs around Colorado.
In December 2018, the Longmont Department of Public Safety’s Special Enforcement Unit (SEU) started looking into a man named Joshua Ward, who was living in Longmont at the time. Authorities suspected he was involved in drug distribution activities.
The SEU identified other people in the northern Colorado region who they believed were helping Ward distribute large amounts of methamphetamine, fentanyl and prescription drugs.
To better investigate the suspected crimes, the SEU partnered with Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA), Tactical Diversion Squad (TDS), Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms (ATF) and the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office. The groups would all focus on combating the criminal organization, which had expanded beyond the northern Colorado region into the Denver metro area and other places along the Front Range.
During the subsequent investigation, authorities identified more than 50 people who were either involved or possible co-conspirators in drug trafficking, weapon offenses and violations of the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act. Authorities also seized multiple drugs and items, including:
- 1,472 counterfeit 30 mg oxycodone hydrochloride pills
- 3 pounds of methamphetamine
- 1.64 pounds of ephedrine
- 288 Schedule II synthetic opioid pills
- 18.7 grams of cocaine
- 6.7 grams of heroin
- 10 benzodiazepine pills
- numerous rifles
- A shotgun
While the investigation is not yet complete, Longmont police said “more than 19 suspected members of the drug trafficking organization” had been arrested and charged with drug trafficking, weapons and organized crimes offenses. Longmont police did not have an exact number of people arrested.
On Monday, the Longmont Department of Public Safety, Longmont SEU, Larimer County SEU, the DEA and ATF partnered to locate and arrest those indicted.
Law enforcement executed search warrants in the Denver metro area and Fort Collins. After those searches, authorities had seized 30 firearms as well as various types of firearms ammunition and firearm silencers, according to Longmont police. Six of the firearms were AK-47-style rifles without serial numbers, police said.
Authorities are anticipating additional arrests as the investigation continues.