DENVER — Eleven people are accused of stealing at least 130 vehicles as part of a crime ring meant to support their drug habits and lifestyle, according to the Denver District Attorney's Office.
They are believed to have stolen more than $3 million in vehicles and other property over the course of more than a year, according to the DA's office.
>The video above is about a large number of auto thefts in the metro area.
That included a camping trailer, in which they lived and firearms, the Denver DA said. All of it was done to support their methamphetamine, heroin and fentanyl habits, according to the DA.
A Denver grand jury indicted the suspects on 74 counts for their alleged crimes which began on Feb. 4, 2021, and continued through May 11, 2022.
The code name for the investigation, was “Program” because the defendants were accused of using electronic key programmers to defeat authorized key fobs which allowed the defendants to substitute after-market key fobs to steal new and high-end cars.
They are also accused of burglarizing auto dealerships and repair shops and then accessing keys to steal vehicles.
The suspects are accused of conducting counter surveillance by driving unpredictably and dangerously to flesh out undercover law enforcement officers, the DA's office said.
If confronted by law enforcement, they would allegedly ram vehicles, drive over obstacles, flee at high-speed and enter on-coming lanes of traffic, according to the district attorney.
In addition, they're accused of using social media platforms including Facebook to coordinate their activities, conduct sales, evade capture and arrange bond.
Ten of the 11 defendants are in custody. Esequiel Gomez is still being sought. The defendants are:
- Esequiel Gomez, 33
- Sergio Casimiro-Mejia, 24
- Susana Garcia, 23
- Olivia Talamantes,29
- Jonathan Valdivia III, 19
- Fabian Varela-Castillo, 28
- Jonathan Baeza Delgado, 29
- Karina Carbajal, 25
- Dianna Laura Gaucin, 19
- Felix Lopez, 34
- Debbie Rachel Valdivia, 22
The 11 suspects are variously charged with:
- Violating Colorado’s Organized Crime Control Act
- Aggravated motor vehicle theft in the first degree
- Possession of a weapon by a previous offender
- Possession with intent to manufacture or distribute a controlled substance cybercrimes
- Identity theft
- First-degree assault
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Vehicular assault
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