Apr 21, 2011 12:15 AM by John Romero
A major drug ring operating in Southern Colorado has been taken down. On Wednesday Federal investigators gave details into the large scale drug bust named "Operation Closing Time". "We arrested totally throughout the 14 month investigation, 36 individuals." explains Matt Barden with the DEA's office in Colorado Springs.
Investigators say drugs were moved from Mexico to the operations hub in Colorado Springs via illegal immigrants. "The majority of these individuals are Mexican Nationals, illegal aliens that moved to Colorado Springs sometime in the recent past." says Barden.
When feds made the raids over the last week they hit the jack pot. The bust netted 38 lbs of meth, 13 kilos of cocaine a small amount of heroin and over $600,000 in assets. "The total seizures for this investigation monetary wise between assets and drugs is probably somewhere between $4,000,000 and $5,000,000." explains Barden.
The investigation centered was around Lucio Vasquez who runs the El Imperio nightclub in Colorado Springs. Investigators tell us the club served as a hub of both drug deals and meetings for the drug ring.
Feds believe this drug ring was in business with a major Mexican cartel. While they feel good about this bust, the feds already have their eye on the next one. "We have agents in Colorado Springs from all over Southern Colorado." says Barden, "There's no clock, there's no calendar. We're going to get the next organization that comes in here and replaces them."
In addition to the drug arrests, over a dozen others were taken in suspected of being in the U.S. illegally. Authorities tell us the investigation uncovered what looks like an outfit smuggling illegal immigrants into the country.