Suspected leader of meth, cocaine ring pleads guilty

Jose Zepeda-Osuna



A Rifle man alleged to have been a top figure in a regional drug organization, supplying pound quantities of methamphetamine and cocaine to dealers in Mesa County, faces a maximum 32 years in prison after pleading guilty Tuesday.

Jose Zepeda-Osuna, 34, could be sentenced anywhere from 16 to 32 years after pleading guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to distribute 1,000 grams, or more, of cocaine, as well as a sentence-enhancer charge for use of a deadly weapon.

Twenty-five charges, including alleged violations of Colorado’s Organized Crime Control Act, were dismissed by the District Attorney’s Office under a plea agreement formalized Tuesday in the courtroom of Mesa County Chief Judge David Bottger.

The judge revoked Zepeda-Osuna’s $500,000 bond and ordered he be held without bond at the Mesa County Jail until sentencing on Jan. 22.

Bottger noted Zepeda-Osuna must serve five years of parole upon release, while noting he may be deported from the United States as soon as he’s released by the Colorado Department of Corrections.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Dan Rubinstein has said Zepeda-Osuna was the “number 2” in a 36-person drug ring allegedly operated by 44-year-old Francisco Peralta-Cabral of Meeker. They were arrested following a months-long investigation that relied heavily on court-authorized wiretaps.

Authorities have said the drug organization was tied to a Mexican cartel and efforts in Mexico were coordinated by a person there known to Mesa County authorities as “Caiyeen.”

Police informants claimed the organization, which was rumored to have operated for a decade in western Colorado, was linked to a pair of murders and the recording and sale of child pornography, according to court records. No charges have been brought in connection with the informants’ claims.

Of the 36 people who were indicted by a Mesa County grand jury on April 16, 23 of them have pleaded guilty and been sentenced or are awaiting sentencing.


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