Suspected cocaine ring busted in Rifle | PostIndependent.com
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Suspected cocaine ring busted in Rifle

An investigation into an alleged cocaine distribution ring in Rifle has led to the seizure of 1.4 pounds of cocaine, three firearms, and more than $39,000 in cash, a Friday Rifle Police Department news release states.

The investigation took place over the past five months.

Investigators executed multiple arrest and search warrants in Rifle on Wednesday. They resulted in the arrest of nine people suspected of conspiring to distribute narcotics.



Suspects include:

  • Juan Valentin Medina Ponce, 34, charged with multiple counts of distribution and possession of narcotics, child abuse (negligence)
  • Jose Francisco Alcaraz Arellano, 42, charged with with multiple counts of distribution and possession of narcotics, possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Ismael Menelio, 37, charged with multiple counts of distribution and possession of narcotics
  • Andres Garcia Zurita, 56, charged with multiple counts of distribution and possession of narcotics
  • Alejandro Hernandez Perez, 47, charged with distribution and possession of narcotics
  • Francisco Javier Romano Cervantes, 28, charged with multiple counts of distribution and possession of narcotics
  • Jorge Yanez Melendez, 26, charged with multiple counts of distribution and possession of narcotics
  • Cesar Arturo Pacheco Pineda, 33, charged with distribution and possession of narcotics
  • Wilbert Salvador Ponce Meza, 25, charged with multiple counts of distribution and possession of narcotics

The investigation was conducted by the TRIDENT/TAG joint task force, Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, Rifle Police Department, Drug Enforcement Agencies of Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction and Montrose, Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Western Colorado Drug Task Force, GRANITE Task Force of Eagle County, Southwest Drug Task Force, 7th Judicial Task Force, US Postal Inspector, and the assistance of the Garfield County All Hazards Response Team, the release states. 



This is an ongoing investigation with an outstanding arrest warrant and additional arrest warrants pending, the release states. If you have information that can help with this investigation, call 970-945-0744.


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