Family delivered, dealt cocaine in GJ area, authorities allege
A Grand Junction family of four has been arrested in connection with what a prosecutor said was a large cocaine-distribution ring that regularly brought more than 2 pounds of the drug into the area.
Federico Lerma, 41, his wife, 40-year-old Dolores Flores, their 19-year-old daughter, Blanca Lerma, and their 16-year-old son were taken into custody on Sunday and could face a multitude of felony charges, the most serious of which include distribution of a controlled substance, conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance and sentencing-enhancing counts of being special offenders.
The arrest warrants in the case are sealed, but Mesa County Chief Deputy District Attorney Dan Rubinstein on Monday began painting a picture of a drug network allegedly headed by Federico Lerma.
During advisement hearings for the Lermas and Flores, Rubinstein told County Judge Craig Henderson that the Federico Lerma-led ring shuttled more than 2 pounds of cocaine from Denver to Grand Junction every 10 days or so. He said Federico Lerma had his son distribute drugs in the Grand Valley while he made trips back and forth to Denver, and that Federico Lerma’s wife and daughter also acted at his direction.
Rubinstein said narcotics officers arrested Federico and Blanca Lerma on Sunday while the father and daughter were returning to Grand Junction from Denver. Police found more than 2 pounds of cocaine inside the vehicle’s air filter. Blanca Lerma’s 7-month-old child also was in the vehicle, Rubinstein said.
Officers later executed a search warrant at the family’s house at 830 Independent Ave., No. 42, and found another 1 1/2 ounces of cocaine broken up into smaller quantities and $5,000 in cash, according to Rubinstein. Flores and the 16-year-old son were arrested at the house.
“The investigation is not complete and more arrests are expected,” Rubinstein said after the hearing.
Public Defender Ramsey Lama told Henderson that Federico Lerma has lived in Mesa County for seven years, owns a house, works in landscaping and has no criminal record.
Henderson set bail at $150,000 for Federico Lerma and $25,000 each for Blanca Lerma and Flores. Both Federico Lerma and Flores have U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement holds that prevent them from posting bond and being released from jail.
The 16-year-old boy was advised during a juvenile detention hearing Monday morning. His name and more information about his case weren’t immediately available.