DEA, sheriff’s office make drug-ring arrest

Joel Stonington

Drug Enforcement Administration and Pitkin County officials arrested a suspected drug ringleader, Jose Jesus Sanchez-Ceja, near the Lazy Glen trailer park Monday night as part of a months-long investigation. Sanchez-Ceja is in custody on an unusual $750,000 bond because he is considered a flight risk after law enforcement discovered he was planning to leave the area. “There was evidence he learned of the investigation,” said assistant district attorney Gail Nichols. “He had someone pack his clothes and was getting a bus ticket out of here.”According to Nichols, the DEA had a wiretap on his phone and learned through his calls that he was planning to skip town. She said that DEA agents found 2 ounces of cocaine at his workplace and $31,000 in cash at his home. Sanchez-Ceja faces four felony charges: possession of cocaine, possession with intent to sell, selling cocaine and conspiracy to sell cocaine. The conspiracy charge is a higher-degree felony because Sanchez-Ceja is suspected of being a supervisor in the conspiracy. Nichols said Sanchez-Ceja has two prior convictions – both for driving under the influence – and law enforcement deported him in the 1970s. Many of the details of the case are under court seal because the investigation is ongoing. The DEA refused comment. Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is