PUEBLO – “Operation Double Dippin'” started two years ago after a small drug bust in Pueblo, named so because drug traffickers were stealing money from within their own organization. But it’s still not over.
It started with small street-level drug deals in Pueblo.
Once investigators started wiretapping, they realized this was a big drug trafficking organization.
So far 40 people have been arrested, but there are 25 suspects still loose.
“We’re sitting there going ‘Wow, we have something here we didn’t really expect,'” said DEA Agent Tim Scott.
Known collectively as High Drug Trafficking Area Southern Colorado Task-Force, this group of local, state and federal authorities is touting success after their operation exposed a drug trafficking organization called the Payan.
They seized more than 120 pounds of meth, 56 pounds of heroin and 33 pounds of cocaine.
They also charged 65 people, 40 of those have been arrested so far.
“Definitely taken out some of the major traffickers in, not just in Pueblo, but the state of Colorado,” Scott added.
Among those 25 still out there, some may still be in Pueblo.
“These people are armed, they are dangerous,” Scott warned.
“They really need to get off the streets before someone gets hurt.”
Though the Payan group was based in Mexico, they networked through local gangs.
“A lot of the individuals were either associated with a gang or they were in a gang,” Scott explained.
Pueblo police say they’re starting to see a positive change.
“The gang issue has been diluted,” said Pueblo Police Chief Troy Davenport.
“At the same time, we’re not naive. We know that there continues (sic) to be problems.”
And because problems persist, investigators vow to do the same.
“We are targeting drug dealers,” said DEA Agent Todd Zimmerman.
“We want them to know that we’re coming after you. we’re coming after them. and we won’t stop.”
Many of the individuals involved will have to be extradited from Mexico.
Authorities say the Payan Drug Trafficking Organization was distributing drugs throughout the entire I-25 corridor, from Trinidad to Denver.