Denver Drug Sweep, Black Rhino Arrests 27 People
The Denver drug sweep, which was dubbed Black Rhino, was sparked by four indictments issued by a federal grand jury. In addition to the arrests, 48 pounds of methamphetamine, 24 guns (though some reports say only 17), 3.5 kilograms of cocaine, a pound of heroin and $600,000 in cash was seized by a task force encompassing almost 200 agents.
Street Gangs are Targeted
The Black Rhino raids began at 6 a.m., with the series of arrests undertaken by local Denver law enforcement that included the Metro Gang Task Force, as well as state and federal entities. The Denver drug sweep was aimed primarily at gang members, with arrests focusing on six gangs in particular: South Side Crew, 211 Crew, Surenos, North Side Mafia, 16th Street Bloods and an associate of the Gallant Knights.
The North Side Mafia primarily focused on bringing drugs from Mexico to Colorado by way of California, while the others went through New Mexico. Two stores that are operated by brothers Albert and Alan Ramon, the Nick Mart North and Nick Mart 2 South, were the alleged destination for these drugs.
The lure of huge profits from drug sales was enough to bring about an unusual (and seemingly unlikely) alliance of black and Latino gangs with white supremacists.
A Continuing Issue
Since the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado, federal agents have kept a close eye on businesses growing the substance, with raids similar to this Denver drug sweep taking place.
A November 2013 raid by agents looking to establish a tie between growers and a Colombian drug cartel was somewhat similar in nature to the Black Rhino raid. The scope of it only included a little over a dozen businesses and a few private homes, but four individuals were eventually arrested on federal charges. Authorities needed trucks to haul away the evidence.
Just last October, another major raid saw businesses accused of illegally selling marijuana to individuals in Minnesota, with agents (some wearing hazmat suits) confiscating almost $1 million worth of the drug.
The Black Rhino raids mean that the suspects face an array of charges, including drug conspiracy and gun possession. Should prosecutors achieve convictions on the drug conspiracy charges from this Denver drug sweep, those convicted face from 10 years to life in prison. Meanwhile, a gun possession conviction could result in a five to 10-year sentence.
Given the fact that those picked up in the Black Rhino raids are charged with federal crimes, strict guidelines concerning any possible parole are in place. No prisoners would be released until at least 85 percent of their sentence has been served.