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Task force dismantles drug trafficking organization

The Northern Colorado Drug Task Force seized multiple pounds of illegal drugs, weapons and cash while executing search warrants on Tuesday, Sept. 10 as a result of an eight-month-long investigation, named Operation Malverde.

The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office has arrested 10 individuals in relation to their dismantling of a methamphetamine, heroin and fentanyl drug trafficking organization, according to a Sept. 13 press release. Combined, the individuals face over 120 felony allegations.

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The top shows a headshot of Ismael Ivan Mojica-Garcia, who is wanted for drug trafficking. The bottom shows a picture of Mojica-Garcia's car.
The wanted poster for Ismael Ivan Mojica-Garcia and an image of his car. Any sighting of this man should be reported to 911 immediately. (Photo Courtesy of Larimer County Sheriff’s Office)

LCSO said that “several suspects” remain at large, including Ismael Ivan Mojica-Garcia, a Sinaloa drug cartel cell head. Multiple active felony warrants are out for Mojica-Garcia’s arrest, and he also has a pending a deportation hearing.

He drives a blue 2010 Chevrolet Corvette with temporary Colorado license plate 1103924. LCSO has asked that any information on his whereabouts be reported to 911 immediately. Mojica-Garcia is considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached.

In the press release, NCDTF Commander Joe Shellhammer attributed the success of Operation Malverde to the cooperation between federal, state and local law enforcement. SWAT teams, drug task forces and city police departments all along the Front Range contributed to this operation.

“More than 10,000 labor hours have gone into Operation Malverde, and we still have important work to do,” Shellhammer said.

The 10 suspects apprehended thus far include:

  • Howard John Trowbridge (05/12/1957) of Denver
  • Lynne Francis Tenery (12/13/1972) of Campion
  • Raymond Michael Gefroh (10/19/1965) of Fort Collins
  • Bruce Wayne Iskowitsch (03/08/1962) of Loveland
  • Matthew Xavier Lucero (12/20/1999) homeless in Fort Collins
  • Arnet Emile Cotton (05/17/1969) of Cheyenne, Wyoming
  • Jacob Rettenberger (07/26/1959) of Estes Park
  • Karen Jean Latulip (09/26/1959) of Berthoud
  • Natasha Jean Latulip (01/05/1983) of Loveland
  • Michael Dean Gonser (02/28/1968) of Lakewood

Headshots of five individuals arrested by the Northern Colorado Drug Task Force.
Five of 10 individuals arrested in efforts related to Operation Malverde. (Photo Courtesy of Larimer County Sheriff’s Office)
Headshots of five individuals arrested by the Northern Colorado Drug Task Force.
Five of 10 individuals arrested in efforts related to Operation Malverde. (Photo Courtesy of Larimer County Sheriff’s Office)

Felony allegations these suspects face include:

  • Colorado organized crime control act
  • Conspiracy to distribute controlled substances
  • Conspiracy to commit money laundering
  • Distribution of controlled substances
  • Money laundering
  • Possession of a weapon by previous offender
  • Special offender — distribute controlled substances while in possession of firearm
  • Special offender — significant source of income and special skills
  • Possession with intent to distribute controlled substances
  • Driving under influence of drugs
  • Obstructing/resisting peace officer
  • Violation of bail bond conditions
  • Habitual criminal
  • Possession of controlled substance

The items seized on Sept. 10 include:

  • Methamphetamine: 37.85 pounds
  • Heroin: 108 grams
  • Marijuana: 5 pounds
  • Prescription drugs oxycodone and fentanyl: 213 pills
  • Mushrooms: 11 grams
  • Cocaine: 6 grams
  • Rifles/shotguns: 6
  • Handguns: 6
  • U.S. currency: $13,000

Serena Bettis can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @serenaroseb

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About the Contributor
Serena Bettis
Serena Bettis, Editor in Chief
Serena Bettis is your 2022-23 editor in chief and is in her final year studying journalism and political science. In her three years at The Collegian, Bettis has also been a news reporter, copy editor, news editor and content managing editor, and she occasionally takes photos, too. When Bettis was 5, her family moved from Iowa to a tiny town northwest of Fort Collins called Livermore, Colorado, before eventually moving to Fort Collins proper. When she was 8 years old, her dad enrolled at Colorado State University as a nontraditional student veteran, where he found his life's passion in photojournalism. Although Bettis' own passion for journalism did not stem directly from her dad, his time at CSU and with The Collegian gave her the motivation to bite down on her fear of talking to strangers and find The Collegian newsroom on the second day of classes in 2019. She's never looked back since. Considering that aforementioned fear, Bettis is constantly surprised to be where she is today. However, thanks to the supportive learning environment at The Collegian and inspiring peers, Bettis has not stopped chasing her teenage dream of being a professional journalist. Between working with her section editors, coordinating news stories between Rocky Mountain Student Media departments and coaching new reporters, Bettis gets to live that dream every day. When she's not in the newsroom or almost falling asleep in class, you can find Bettis working in the Durrell Marketplace and Café or outside gazing at the beauty that is our campus (and running inside when bees are nearby). This year, Bettis' goals for The Collegian include continuing its trajectory as a unique alt-weekly newspaper, documenting the institutional memory of the paper to benefit students in years to come and fostering a sense of community and growth both inside the newsroom and through The Collegian's published work. Bettis would like to encourage anyone with story ideas, suggestions, questions, concerns or comments to reach out to her at editor@collegian.com.

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