23 Suspects indicted in illegal marijuana operation



April 18, 2024 – CBI – Cañon City, CO – The 11th Judicial District Attorney’s Office announces grand jury indictments naming twenty-three (23) suspects as the result of a multi-jurisdictional investigation into illicit marijuana-manufacturing and distribution operations that spanned multiple properties in Fremont County, El Paso County, and Pueblo County.  A joint investigation between  the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) (CO), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Rocky Mountain Division (CO), the Rocky Mountain HIDTA Front Range Drug Task Force (CO), the Colorado Department of Revenue – Tax Enforcement Section (CO), the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Inspector General, and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI), along with the assistance of the 11th Judicial District, District Attorney’s Office, DEA HIDTA Group 43 Miami Division (FL), the City of Miami Police Department (FL), the Cañon City Police Department (CO), and the Collier County Sheriff’s Office (FL), led to 23 arrest warrants issued for suspects, and several of the suspects being arrested.

The indictments name twenty-three (23) individuals who allegedly engaged in a scheme of manufacturing and processing marijuana in Fremont County, Pueblo County, and El Paso County, which was then to be illegally distributed out of state, bypassing enacted regulations and tax requirements.  The indictments named the following suspects:

  • Mario Armando Leyva Hernandez, age 48 (28 Charges)
  • Onel Vicente Martinez -age 32 (13 Charges)
  • Antony Aleman Rosete – age 36 (13 Charges)
  • Martha Vicente Romero -age 41 (11 Charges)
  • Duniesky Hurtado Sotolongo dob age 39 (7 Charges)
  • Ricardo Garcia Licourt – age 49 (6 Charges)
  • Raciel Torres Giro- age 61 (6 Charges)
  • Diosnel Hernandez Vicente – age 39 (5 Charges)
  • Juan Grau Reyes- age 30 (5 Charges)
  • Luis Enrique Peron Hernandez-dob age 51 (5 Charges)
  • Laudis Barrueto age 50 (5 Charges)
  • Raciel Ochoa Acosta- age 25 (5 Charges)
  • Carlos Manuel Torres Bandera age 58 (5 Charges)
  • Fernando Padilla Herrera – age 58 (4 Charges)
  • Ariel Acosta Rizo – age 40 (4 Charges)
  • Yanaisa Yapur Guevara- age 45 (4 Charges)
  • Glenarvan Leyva Matos dob age 46 (4 Charges)
  • Yunior Vasquez Martinez age 42 (4 Charges)
  • Julio Ledezma Duarte age 29 (4 Charges)
  • Sascha Diaz Friol   age 45 (4 Charges)
  • Yunier Portieles Chavez – age 37 (4 Charges)
  • Amelia Cardoso Carballo dob age 28 (3 Charges)
  • Paulo Sergio Pascual Acosta age 29 (3 Charges)

Search warrants of the involved properties in Fremont, Pueblo, and El Paso counties led to the seizure of 1,150 illicit Marijuana plants, approximately 869 pounds of Marijuana product, some packaged for distribution, 13 firearms – some stolen, approximately 3.23 grams of Methamphetamine, the recovery of stolen heavy equipment, and the recovery of stolen vehicles, stolen trailers, and a stolen UTV.

The 11th Judicial District, District Attorney’s Office presented evidence to the grand jury and was able to secure indictments for the following charges for the suspects:

  • C.R.S. § 18-17-104(3) – COCCA – Pattern of Racketeering (F2)
  • C.R.S. § 18-17-104(4) – COCCA – Conspiracy (F2)
  • C.R.S. § 18-18-407(1)(d)(I) – Controlled Substance-Special Offender-Deadly Weapon (DF1)
  • C.R.S. § 18-18-407(1)(g) – Controlled Substance Special Offender-School/Housing (DF1)
  • C.R.S. § 18-18-406(2)(b)(I),(III)(A) – Marijuana/Concent-w/Int >50Lbs/25Lbs (DF1)
  • C.R.S. § 18-18-406(2)(b)(I),(III)(A) – Marijuana/Concent-w/Int >50Lbs/25Lbs-Consp (DF2)
  • C.R.S. § 18-18-406(2)(b(I),(III)(B) – Marijuana/Concent-Poss <50Lbs/25 Lbs (DF2)
  • C.R.S. § 18-18-406(2)(b(I),(III)(B) – Marijuana/Concent-Poss <50Lbs/25 Lbs-Consp (DF3)
  • C.R.S. § 18-18-406(3)(a)(I),(III)(B) – Marijuana Cultivation – 7 to 30 Plants (DF4)
  • C.R.S. § 18-18-406(3)(a)(I),(III)(B) – Marijuana Cultivation – 7 to 30 Plants – Consp (DF3)
  • C.R.S. § 18-18-406(2)(a)(I) – Knowing Allows Controlled Subst Mfg on Land (DF3)
  • C.R.S. § 18-18-406(3)(a)(I) – Marijuana Cultivation – 30/More Plants (DF3)
  • C.R.S. § 18-18-406(3)(a)(I) – Marijuana Cultivation – 30/More Plants-Consp (DF4)
  • C.R.S. § 18-18-406(2)(b)(I),(III)(B) – Marijuana/Conc-Poss <50Lbs/25Lbs (DF2)
  • C.R.S. § 18-18-406(2)(b)(I),(III)(B) – Marijuana/Conc-Poss <50Lbs/25Lbs Consp (DF3)
  • C.R.S. § 18-6-401(1)(c)(I) – Child Abuse – Manufacture Controlled Substance (F3)
  • C.R.S. § 18-5-309(1)(b)(I) – Money Laundering-Transfer/Promote Crime (F3)
  • C.R.S. § 39-21-118(4) – Taxation – Filing False Return (F6)
  • C.R.S. § 39-21-118(1) – Taxation – Tax Evasion (F6)
  • C.R.S. § 18-8-610(1)(a) – Tampering With Physical Evidence-Destroy (F6)
  • C.R.S. § 18-18-403.5(1),(2)(c) – Controlled Substance Poss Sch I/II/III/IV/V (DM1)
  • C.R.S. § 18-18-411(1) – Controlled Substance-Maintain Property/Distribution (DM1)

Onel Vicente Martinez age 32, his wife Martha Vicente Romero age 41, a federal employee of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons at the time the alleged crimes were committed, and Mario Armando Leyva Hernandez, age 48, a federal employee of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, were the alleged ringleaders of a racketeering and Drug Trafficking Organization(s) (DTO). As the indictment alleges, these ringleaders recruited members for their DTOs from Florida and other areas to operate illegal marijuana-manufacturing, processing, and distributing operations out of properties in Fremont, Pueblo, and El Paso Counties.  Such DTOs exhibited a distribution of labor through a hierarchy and different levels within the organization.

The investigation began after a violent shootout at one of the properties in Fremont County, where a 57-year-old female was hit by gunfire while holding an 18-month-old.  The female survived her injuries, and thankfully the toddler was not harmed.  The investigation alleges the shooting was related to the robbery of a Marijuana-manufacturing site by members of the DTO.

“These indictments wouldn’t be possible without the extensive coordination and collaboration with our public safety partners in Colorado and across state lines to address these far-reaching operations,” said CBI Director Chris Schaefer. “While Colorado has legalized marijuana it is not legal for illicit marijuana operators to cultivate marijuana without a license with the intent of exporting it to states where the drug remains illegal and lucrative for criminals.”

“We at the Miami Police Department know that the key to keeping our Magic City safe and vibrant is to develop relationships with our community stakeholders,” said Miami Police Chief Manuel Morales. “We proudly join our Federal sister agencies to create a strong partnership and carry out our public safety mission. I am extremely proud of all the men and women who put their efforts together to derail this narcotics activity.”

“The number of indictments achieved as a result of this investigation demonstrates how expansive this organization was,” said DEA Rocky Mountain Field Division Acting Special Agent in Charge David Olesky. “In addition, the evidence in this case also reveals the ever-present correlation between illegal drug trafficking and violence. As a result of the collaborative efforts of regional law enforcement, this organization will no longer pose a threat to the local community.”

“We appreciate the substantial time and effort that law enforcement dedicated to this investigation that ultimately led to this indictment,” said 11th Judicial District, District Attorney Linda Stanley. “The downfall of this criminal organization is the result of a collaborative effort between our office and law enforcement that occurred throughout the investigation and continues today. The message is clear that citizens of the 11th Judicial District and our office will not tolerate this kind of criminal activity where we live and work.”

Nine (9) of the twenty-three (23) suspects have been arrested.  Law enforcement is working on locating and apprehending the outstanding suspects.

All defendants are presumed innocent of all charges.




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