BOULDER, CO – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Bill Leone, Unite…

BOULDER, CO – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Bill Leone, United States Attorney for the District of Colorado, Jeffrey D. Sweetin, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Rocky Mountain Division, and Stephen Prentup, Commander of the Boulder County Drug Task Force (BCDTF), announced the conclusion of a DEA Mobile Enforcement Team (MET) deployment in Boulder County. The eight month investigation resulted in the arrest and filing of federal charges against 7 individuals, the seizure of 3.2 pounds of cocaine, 1.2 pounds of methamphetamine, a half pound of marijuana, 1.5 pounds of ecstasy, 2 ounces of buprenorphine (an opiate), 400 dosage units of psilocybin mushrooms, and the seizure of $7,759 in U.S. Currency and one vehicle.

The DEA and BCDTF combined forces to investigate a previously identified drug trafficking organization, headed by DONALD JASON SKINNER, age 31, of Longmont, which supplied methamphetamine and cocaine in Boulder County. The SKINNER Organization was largely comprised of a coalition of local drug traffickers who had formed an alliance in an attempt to corner the methamphetamine market in the Boulder County area. The SKINNER Organization intentionally utilized juveniles as couriers and distributors of drugs to escape detection.

“Current attitudes tend to characterize drug traffickers as harmless and misunderstood. This investigation demonstrates that this is a myth. The SKINNER Organization is an example of a dangerous, well-organized drug trafficking organization which intentionally used children to distribute their illegal product,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Sweetin.

Bill Leone, United States Attorney, praised the investigative efforts of the DEA and Boulder County Drug Task Force. “The streets of Boulder are safer, and the availability of illegal drugs reduced thanks to the hard work of these agents and officers,” United States Attorney Leone said.

During the course of the investigation, a separate cocaine and ecstasy drug trafficking organization, involving MICHAEL R. BURLESON, age 22, of Boulder County, was identified. The following defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on Wednesday, January 11, 2006, charged with one count of Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute over 500 grams of methamphetamine:

* DONALD JASON SKINNER, age 31, of Longmont
* RICHARD LEE CLARK, age 27, of Longmont
* GREGORY D. DIXON, age 31, of Longmont
* SANTIAGO MENA-FLORES, age 26, of Henderson
* BENITO GARCIA, age 26, of Longmont
* KENNETH F. FUQUA, age 26, of Brighton

If convicted, the six defendants face not less than 10 years, and not more than life in federal prison, as well as up to a $4 million fine.

In addition, MICHAEL BURLESON was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on October 31, 2005, charged with one count of Possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine. If convicted, BURLESON faces not less than 5 years, and not more than 40 years in federal prison, as well as up to a $2 million fine.

“Methamphetamine and cocaine have a significant negative impact on our community,” said Stephen Prentup, Commander of the Boulder County Drug Task Force. “The drug problem in our community is complex and necessitates a strong commitment from service providers and the community to address. The entire community needs to be involved in solving the problem of drug abuse. Everyone must also be dedicated to the protection of our children and future generations from the destruction of drug use, as well as to provide treatment and intervention opportunities for those who are already involved.”

The DEA and BCDTF were assisted in this investigation by the Longmont Police Department Special Enforcement Unit, Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), Weld County Drug Task Force, Larimer County Drug Task Force, North Metro Drug Task Force, the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office, Boulder County Probation Department, and the Adams County Probation Department.

The BCDTF is comprised of the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, Boulder Police Department, Lafayette Police Department, Erie Police Department, University of Colorado Police Department, and the Louisville Police Department.

The charges are only allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.

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