More deals to come in Aspen cocaine network case | AspenTimes.com

More deals to come in Aspen cocaine network case

Rick CarrollThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

DENVER – Two Southern California men who allegedly helped fuel a cocaine network between Aspen and Los Angeles have reached plea agreements with the prosecution.On Tuesday, attorneys for Anthony Buchanan, 68, of Burbank, and Alfonso Ellvao-Allocati, 70, of Los Angeles, introduced documents in the U.S. District Court in Denver indicating that dispositions have been reached.Buchanan, through lawyer Scott Jurdem, filed a request seeking a change-of-plea hearing. The request comes after Buchanan pleaded not guilty June 13 to two cocaine trafficking charges.Elvao-Allocati, who also pleaded not guilty in June to seven counts related to cocaine distribution, filed a notice with the court saying “that the defendant and the government have settled upon a plea agreement and disposition.”Elvao-Allocati’s attorney, John Yzurdiaga, declined to comment when reached at his Los Angeles office. Jurdem did not return a telephone message left at his Boulder practice.Buchanan and Elvao-Allocati were among the 10 people – including six Aspen-area residents – a federal grand jury out of Denver indicted April 19. Nine of the 10 were arrested exactly one month later, on May 19. One defendant, Jesse Trujillo of the Los Angeles area, remains a fugitive.Buchanan and Elvao-Allocati’s plea agreements, should they go through, would mark the third and fourth dispositions in the case. On Oct. 31, Aspen Village resident James Joseph Burke, 64, pleaded guilty to one felony count of using a telephone to facilitate a drug transaction. He’s due back in court Jan. 23 for a sentencing hearing. And, previously, on Oct. 3, federal prosecutors dismissed the charge of conspiracy to distribute cocaine against Aspen resident Peggy Schlauger, 51.The grand jury proceedings were conducted in private, but transcripts from two court hearings tie Buchanan and Elvao-Allocati to the suspected ringleader of the network, 65-year-old Aspen resident Wayne Alan Reid. Burke also was linked to Reid in last month’s plea agreement, which said that on March 12 he made a phone call to Reid to arrange a cocaine purchase.Elvao-Allocati’s alleged role in the drug ring emerged in a May 28 identity and bail hearing in California. At the hearing, David Storm, a Glenwood Springs agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, which led the investigation, said he began his probe into Reid in July 2010. A confidential informant in the case told Storm that Elvao-Allocati was Reid’s sole source for the cocaine.Storm eventually wiretapped Elvao-Allocati’s telephone, and by doing so, learned that he purchased cocaine in Los Angeles, according to a transcript from the May hearing. And on Feb. 3, Elvao-Allocati met with Reid in the parking lot of Whiskey Pete’s Hotel & Casino in Primm, Nev., a meeting Storm said he witnessed.The two swapped a package, and the next day Elvao-Allocati placed a phone call to another defendant, Valentin Barrios, to set up a meeting to exchange money collected from the Reid deal. According to Storm’s testimony, “Mr. Barrios was concerned that there may be some heat, or that Mr. Allocati may be tailed. Mr. Allocati told him that he’d taken some maneuvers to see whether or not anybody was following them. And then they coordinated how to link up with each other so that Mr. Allocati could pass money off to Mr. Barrios.”And at a June 14 detention hearing for Reid in Denver federal court, Glenwood Springs police officer Paul Pedersen, who also worked with the DEA on the investigation, testified that in September 2010 he witnessed Buchanan and Reid buy 2 kilograms of cocaine from Elvao-Allocati in Pasadena, Calif. Buchanan took 1 kilogram, Reid the other and “brought it back to Aspen and distributed it,” Pedersen said.”As a result of this transaction they wiretapped Reid’s phone,” Pedersen testified. “We were able to listen to Mr. Reid and Allocati talk on the phone.”That led the DEA to a December cocaine transaction in Las Vegas, where “[Reid] received 1 kilo from Mr. Allocati … then he returned to Aspen,” Pedersen testified. Elvao-Allocati, who has lived in the Los Angeles area for the past 40 years, has one prior drug-related conviction, for possession of 4 ounces of cocaine in 1987, according to court records. The other remaining defendants in the case are Joan Anastasi, 67, of Aspen; Barrios, 42, of Los Angeles; Jack Fellner, 61, of Aspen; Reid, and Snowmass resident Christopher Sheehan, 65.Feds say the drug ring imported 200 kilograms between Aspen and Los Angeles over a 15-year period. The network also had ties to Mexican drug cartels, feds claim. rcarroll@aspentimes.com