A federal grand jury has indicted 52 people in Denver following a 20th-month investigation focused on powder and crack cocaine markets in the city’s east side.
Thirty five of the people who were indicted have been arrested, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced. The other 17 are still on the run, and considered fugitives.
The investigation centered on open air drug markets near parks and public transportation centers involving gang members, the FBI said.
“We hope with something like this at a minimum it causes them to go elsewhere out of those public spaces meant for other people to use and prosper with and not be terrified to walk to school, go shopping and play softball,” said Bob Troyer acting U.S. Attorney.
Some of the drug activity was in Five Points – specifically the 29th and Welton light rail stations – and Curtis Park.
Most of the suspects have extensive criminal histories, from minor offenses to drug trafficking. One of the defendants had been convicted of attempted murder.
“Yes there is a drug problem. Denver isn’t' unlike a lot of metro areas,” said Troyer.
If they’re convicted, some of the defendants could face up to life in prison.
The Metro Gang Task Force consists of multiple agencies, including the FBI, Denver Police Department, Colorado State Patrol and U.S. Marshal’s Service.