Two former Aspenites sent to prison
Two former Aspen residents were sentenced to multi-year terms in federal prison Tuesday for distributing cocaine and methamphetamines, according to a news release.
Oscar Mora-Campos, 45, and Jose Chica-Orellana, in his late 30s or early 40s, were two of 17 people charged in connection with the yearlong investigation into a Mexican drug-trafficking operation centered on the El Ranch Market in Aurora, according to releases from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver.
Mora-Campos was arrested at the Hunter Creek Apartments in April 2017, according to an Aspen police detective who participated in the arrest. Chica-Orellana was arrested in March 2017 in Las Vegas, though he was listed in court documents as an Aspen resident.
The operation allegedly funneled drugs from Mexico to Colorado via California. The leader of the operation, Jose Tapia-Rubio, who owned the market, allegedly made more than $3 million in deposits between 2013 and 2016, according to court documents.
Law enforcement seized 12.5 kilograms of cocaine and 1.2 pounds of methamphetamine, about $692,000 in cash, two homes valued at $615,600, three vehicles and 11 firearms, according to Wednesday’s news release.
Mora-Campos initially pleaded not guilty to conspiring to distribute at least 5 kilograms of a substance containing cocaine, 50 kilograms of methamphetamine and more than 500 grams of a substance containing methamphetamine.
He was sentenced to three years and four months in federal prison Tuesday, followed by five years of parole, according to a release Wednesday from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Chica-Orelllana — also known as “Adrian Flores” — was initially accused of selling more than 500 grams of cocaine July 8, 2016, less than 500 kilograms on July 20, 2016, and more than 500 grams of cocaine on Aug. 26, 2016.
He was sentenced to four years and seven months in prison followed by five years on parole, according to Wednesday’s release.
The details of the two men’s plea deals were not disclosed in the release.
A New Castle resident — Eduardo Jimenez-Sanchez — also was sentenced to five years in prison Tuesday for his role in the operation, the release states.
Tapia-Rubio, 60, was sentenced Tuesday to eight years in prison, the release states.
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Pitkin County’s vaccination roll-out continues Friday and Sunday and will include the newly-approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine.