GREELEY, Colo. — An investigation that began with a probe into a cocaine ring has led to 19 arrests in operations that involved moving black market drugs in and out of Colorado, according to a news release from the Greeley Police Department.

The 19 suspects were arrested following a July 11 grand jury indictment targeting two drug trafficking groups. One of those groups was involved in cocaine distribution, and the other was exporting marijuana that was illegally grown in Greeley out of the state, the release says.

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It all began in October 2018, when the Weld County Drug Task Force learned a man identified as Alberto “Beto” Loya was allegedly distributing large amounts of cocaine in the Greeley area. As investigators learned more and more about the operation, the release says the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) got involved, and law enforcement learned Loya was involved in a larger operation.

This led to the discovery of a black market marijuana enterprise allegedly led by Ernani Lujan and Antonio Torrez, according to the news release. The task force began to investigate this and the cocaine ring simultaneously – and on May 15, 2019, executed search warrants at numerous locations. 

These search warrants led to no arrests until the July grand jury indictments, which the release says were against 19 individuals and included a total of 62 counts ranging from drug distribution to money laundering to weapons offenses.

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According to release, the cocaine distribution group was dealing “multiple kilo quantities” of the drug in northern Colorado. The illegal marijuana grow seizure, meanwhile, netted 823 plants, nearly 17 pounds of marijuana, and four pounds of concentrate.

In the weeks after the raid, the release says law enforcement took the following people into custody:

  • Alberto Loya  
  • Christopher Strain
  • Anthony Alirez 
  • Antonio Torrez
  • Ernani Lujan  
  • Santana Torrez
  • Benjamin Bernhardt 
  • Cesar Vargas- Maldonado
  • Frank Valdez  
  • Christopher Strain
  • Gilberto Valenzuela-Flores 
  • Antonio Campos-Quintana
  • Lanny Green 
  • Daniel Sisneros
  • Joseph Alirez 
  • Davis Reyes
  • Christopher Cook 
  • Lein Nguyen
  • Elijah Graves 
  • Mario Hernandez

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