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6 gang members facing murder charges after 2-year investigation in Aurora

The investigation focused on 12 suspects. Six of them each face two counts of first-degree murder.

AURORA, Colo. — A two-year investigation involving multiple law enforcement agencies resulted in the arrest of seven people this week on a variety of charges including murder and attempted murder.

The Regional Anti-Violence Enforcement Network (RAVEN) focused their investigation on 12 suspects who were known to belong to a criminal organization known as the "Blitz Gang Official." Those 12 people were the only members of the group and, according to Aurora Police, they collectively face more than 300 charges.

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“Operation Family Ties,” a coordinated effort by SWAT teams from the Aurora Police Department, Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office and Denver Police Department, focused on taking the remaining suspects into custody. Search warrants were executed early Tuesday morning at five locations in Aurora and one in Denver.

Four suspects were arrested on murder charges, according to Aurora Police. They include:

  • Luis Ramirez, 23
  • Dominik Ramirez, 21
  • Jonathen Ramirez, 18
  • Trayvon Weatherspoon, 19

These suspects each face two counts of first-degree murder. A spokesperson for APD said Thursday the two charges relate to one homicide that occurred on 2021. There are two charges, because there are two different theories about how the killing was committed. One charge is first-degree murder - after deliberation. The second charge is first-degree murder - extreme indifference.

Another murder suspect, Julian Nava-Hernandez, 18, was already in custody. He also faces two counts of first-degree murder. 

Two suspects were arrested on charges including attempted murder and assault. They are:

  • Jason Frias, 19
  • Keyandre Robinson, 21

A 44-year-old woman faces an accessory charge. 

Two other suspects were already in custody. They include:

  • Jose Cano-Venzor, 19
  • Juan Rivas-Luna, 18

Donald Howard, 18, was not located and was considered a fugitive, APD said.  However, late Wednesday, investigators tracked him to a home in north Aurora and he was taken into custody around 10 p.m.

The final suspect barricaded himself inside a home and died by suicide, police said.

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Rivas-Luna was in custody in connection with a fatal road rage shooting in Aurora in June. Stephen Qualls, 48, was fatally shot on June 5 near South Havana Street near East Idaho Place. Rivas-Luna was arrested in June in that case. At the time, police said he was a gang member who was known to carry guns and had been involved in "several violent crimes" in Aurora.

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The others arrested face charges ranging from attempted murder to assault and burglary.

In addition to the arrests, task force officers seized two fully automatic AR-15 rifles, a Draco AK-47-style assault pistol, two silencers and nine handguns, including two featuring “switches” or “auto-sears,” which is an illegal device used to convert a semi-automatic handgun into a fully automatic one.

The suspects are expected to appear in court Thursday. 

Donald Howard was wanted on six counts of attempted murder, six counts of attempted assault and other charges. 

Anyone with any information about their crimes is is asked to call 911 or Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867. Tipsters can remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward of up to $2,000.

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