A retired firefighter and a college coach have been lumped in with gang members, as police indicted 35 people in an alleged drug-transportation ring that officials say might be moving up to 40 pounds of cocaine from Mexico to the Denver area each week. The ring has been linked to the Sinaloa cartel, which has been tangled in deadly clashes with various other cartels on the border, writes The Associated Press. All 35 defendants, including 23 swept up in Colorado, allegedly played a role in the scheme, which was carried out by hiding cocaine inside secret panels of vehicles that traveled along I-25.
Among the defendants are David Cordova, a 56-year-old retired lieutenant from the Denver Fire Department, and Donald Rocha, 40, an assistant baseball coach at Regis University for the past two years, reports 9News. As John Walsh, the U.S. attorney for Colorado says, "I think it's beyond surprising who can be involved in this stuff."
Officials claim that once the cocaine arrived in Denver, members of two Denver gangs—the Tre Deuce Gangster Crips and the Northside Mafia—sold it on the streets, writes The Denver Post. Each defendant faces 10 years to life in prison and $4 million in fines, if convicted.