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16 arrested in Colorado on drug, gun charges; total of 46 indicted

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • 16 suspected gang members arrested in morning raids in Greeley, Colorado
  • Total of 46 people indicted in Colorado probe on federal drug and gun charges
  • FBI agent: These are "violent street offenders"
  • Four people were charged with selling drugs near schools

(CNN) -- Federal agents and local police arrested 16 suspected gang members and associates in Greeley, Colorado, on Tuesday on drug and gun charges, according to a Department of Justice release.

Those arrested were among 46 people indicted on federal charges of drug distribution and illegal gun possession, the release said. Eight people are considered fugitives and the others have been arrested since April or were in custody on other charges, Jeff Dorschner, a spokesman for the justice department said.

During the 30-month investigation more than $500,000 worth of amphetamines (6.3 pounds of 100 percent pure meth) was seized. Cocaine, marijuana and mushrooms were also involved, according to the statement, which said 21 weapons also were seized.

FBI Special Agent in Charge James Davis called those indicted "some of the nation's most notorious violent street offenders." Officials didn't identify the gang affliations of those charged in the indictments but said most of the people charged were from Greeley while three were from California and one was thought to be in Mexico.

Four of the people indicted have been charged with distribution in a school zone, and three have been charged with distribution while a child under 18 is present. One person was charges with dealing drugs from home.

"The indictment of 46 people responsible for distributing meth and other dangerous drugs and illegally possessing firearms should have a serious negative impact on the drug trade in Greeley," U.S. Attorney David Gaouette said. The indictments listed 205 counts, one of which could lead to a life sentence.

The Tuesday morning raids involved members of the the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Greeley Police Department and the Weld County Sheriff's Department.

Some of those who were arrested were taken Tuesday for their initial appearances at the U.S. District Court in Denver, while others will be taken there Wednesday.

Greeley, a city of 90,000 residents, is about 60 miles north of Denver.