Operation Full Circle Results in 31 Indictments Related to COCCA and Cocaine Trafficking in Adams County
August 14, 2023
Brighton, CO — Today, 17th Judicial District Attorney Brian Mason, the North Metro Task Force, and the Drug Enforcement Administration are announcing the results of Operation Full Circle, a large-scale cocaine trafficking investigation in Adams County, that led to the indictment of 31 individuals on charges under the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act as well as drug-trafficking violations.
In May 2021, the North Metro Task Force, a multi-jurisdictional entity that investigates illicit drug activity in Adams County, began an investigation into alleged cocaine trafficking between Juarez, Mexico and Adams County through Martin Mena-Flores, his brother Gustavo Mena-Flores, and a number of their associates.
That effort continued in October 2021 when the North Metro Task Force partnered with the Drug Enforcement Administration to investigate local cocaine trafficking in Adams County. Through the course of this investigation, North Metro and the DEA connected the alleged drug operation to Gustavo Mena-Flores, who was in Juarez, Mexico, and Martin Mena-Flores who was in Adams County.
In February 2023, the North Metro Task Force and the DEA learned that the alleged Mena-Flores criminal enterprise had been distributing cocaine in the Adams County area for approximately 15 years while avoiding law enforcement detection.
As a result of Operation Full Circle, 31 defendants were indicted (16 COCCA, 15 drug-trafficking), 14,600 grams (approximately 32 pounds) of cocaine, 4 firearms, 15 vehicles, 5 residences, and $283,514 of cash were seized. The operation lasted approximately 18 months and was split into two phases. The alleged activities occurred within Adams County, primarily the City of Brighton.
The individuals who were indicted as a result of Operation Full Circle and their resulting charges are outlined in the attached Grand Jury Indictments.
"This large-scale grand jury indictment is the direct result of the dedication, hard work, and partnership between theDistrict Attorney’s Office's Drug Trafficking Unit, the North Metro Task Force, and the DEA. By working in collaboration with one another, we are disrupting drug operators who are dealing significant quantities of illegal narcotics into our community. This partnership and the indictment should send one important signal to all who are dealing this poison in our community: we’re going to take you down." --District Attorney Brian Mason
"Through this 18-month investigation detectives worked countless hours, seven days per week, to build our grand jury case. It's important for the community to know that work like this is constantly underway. Even when we can't share much information with the public, because we need to preserve the integrity of the investigation and prioritize the safety of the undercover detectives, we are working hard behind the scenes to get dangerous drugs out of our community." - Commander of Investigations Chad Wooten, Brighton Police Department
"The men and women of the DEA Rocky Mountain Field Division are proud to work alongside our state and local partners to disrupt the violent and dangerous drug trafficking organizations who threaten the safety and well-being of our local communities. Our goal at DEA is to tie those organizations back to their main source of supply in Mexico. Operation Full Circle is a true testament to how strong partnerships and collaboration of resources can lead to potentially life-saving results" --Acting Special Agent in Charge David Olesky, Drug Enforcement Administration
Below are photos of some of the items seized during Operation Full Circle as well as photos of the 18 individuals who were arrested at the conclusion of this operation. Some of the defendants who were indicted have yet to be arrested and may be in Mexico.
Individuals below from left to right, Julio Alba-Guzman, Anthony Arroyos, Juan Gallegos, Ronnie Garcia, Nestor Garcia-Chavez, Efrain Garcia-Loza, Edgar Gutierrez-Alvarez, Urbano Marquez, Martin Mena-Flores, Martin Quezada-Moreno, Francisco Sanchez, Michelle Sandoval-Marquez, Javier Vasquez, Ismael Villegas-Espinoza, Guillermo Zavala-Jimenez, Viviana Renteria Montes, Jorge Vazquez Cervantes, Manuel Marquez
The filing of a criminal charge is merely a formal accusation that an individual(s) committed a crime(s) under Colorado laws. A defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. See Colo RPC 3.6.
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District Attorney Mason assumed the oath of office on January 12, 2021. The 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office endeavors to seek justice on behalf of the citizens of Adams and Broomfield counties in felony and misdemeanor cases. DA Mason and his staff are dedicated to transforming the criminal justice system to better serve the citizens of the 17th Judicial District.
Ms. Gazelka is a forensic therapist and clinician in Denver, Colorado. She is currently focused on providing therapy and assessment services to adult offenders in the community corrections and parole systems as a supervisor at Correctional Psychology Associates (CPA). Her education and career have been devoted to the intersection of psychology and law since 2000. Ms. Gazelka has been working within the field of forensic and correctional psychology since 2006, providing therapy in the community and acute mental health care and risk assessments in county jails. She has practiced as a Licensed Professional Counselor since June 2012. She also became a Licensed Addiction Counselor in March 2014. She was listed as a full operating level DVOMB Approved Provider in June 2019 and started a fledgling DV program oriented to Colorado’s Department of Corrections at CPA in September 2019. Ms. Gazelka was appointed to the Domestic Violence Offender Management Board (DVOMB) in March 2019 and has started her second term with the board. Ms. Gazelka has been recognized for her work as Contributor of the Year at CPA in 2010 and 2012, as well as having been awarded an Alumni Impact Award for her forensic work in the community by University of Denver’s GSPP in 2019. Ms. Gazelka received her Master of Arts degree in Forensic Clinical Psychology from University of Denver's Graduate School of Professional Psychology in 2009. Ms. Gazelka also received her Juris Doctorate from William Mitchell College of Law in 2007, obtaining attorney’s licenses in both Minnesota and Colorado (currently inactive).
Alex Castro Croy
Alex Castro Croy is a bilingual, bicultural, Trauma and Addiction Counselor and owner/Lead Clinician of Life Recovery Centers in Denver and Northglenn Colorado.
A first-generation immigrant from Mexico who accomplished his dream in higher education receiving an AA in Pastoral Ministry (Dallas, Texas), Bachelor of Science in Human Services (MSU in Denver, Colorado) and MA in Community Counseling from Regis University (Denver, Co). He is continuing to pursue his MA/Ph.D. from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Jungian and Archetypal Studies.
Alex’s passion includes training, teaching, counseling, and consulting. He has been an Adjunct Professor for the Human Services Department at MSU-Denver for 9 years. He has served as an Interventionist for the Latino GLBTQ community, Drug Court Probation Officer at Denver Juvenile Court Probation (8 years), Bilingual Diversion Officer for Denver DA office (5 years), and currently owner and director of Life Recovery Centers (7 years). He has worked with a variety of clients from all walks of life and his eclectic therapeutic interventions have proven to be effective in treating trauma and addiction.
Thea Wessel is an addictions counselor with a private practice in Colorado. She has been working in the criminal and addiction fields for thirteen years. Ms. Wessel earned her Masters in forensic psychology from the University of Denver and has her LPC, LAC, MAC, NCAAC, and ADS. She is working towards her Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Ms. Wessel continually challenges herself and others to provide quality addiction treatment and ways to continue to educate the community about addiction issues.