Seven additional defendants charged in Western Slope drug ring bust

Seven additional suspects have been arrested as part of an ongoing investigation into a drug and money laundering ring on the Western Slope, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The defendants, who appeared in U.S. District Court in Denver this past week, face federal drug charges for the alleged distribution of methamphetamine and heroin, a news release said.

The defendants are identified as: Daniel Gastelo-Ochoa, 32, Denver; Carlos Quijano-Ruiz, 52,  Montrose; Rafael Jaramillo-Hernandez, 32, Montrose; Catyria Gisela Lopez-Gomez, 41, Fort Collins; Margarita Jaquelin Cruz-Gomez, 35, Montrose; Dalilah Suarez-Lopez, 23, Fort Collins; and Carlos Aurelio Beltran-Gonzalez, 32, Montrose.

Thirteen other defendants have been previously charged in the case based on a December of 2019 indictment, the release said.

If convicted, defendants face a minimum of 10 years up to life in federal prison on the drug charges.

In addition to the drug conspiracy charge, Quijano-Ruiz, Jaramillo-Hernandez, Lopez-Gomez, Cruz-Gomez, Suarez-Lopez and Beltran-Gonzalez allegedly conspired with each other, and other defendants previously charged, “to conduct and attempt to conduct financial transactions involving the proceeds of illegal drug distribution,” the release said. If convicted, each defendant faces not more than 20 years in federal prison.

The criminal investigation was conducted by the Denver Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office, and the Montrose Police Department, along with staff from the 7th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.


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