Denver man sentenced to 14 years in prison for distributing illicit drugs


Date: December 6, 2021


DENVER — The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Colorado announces that Luis Gerardo Palacios, of Denver, was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, cocaine, fentanyl, and heroin.

According to the plea agreement and court filings, from sometime in 2019 until February 12, 2020, the defendant served a drug trafficking organization that engaged in the interstate transportation and local distribution of large quantities of illegal drugs sourced from Mexico. The defendant aided the organization by helping find one of the drivers that brought more than 50 pounds of methamphetamine from California to Colorado in October 2019, and by assisting in coordinating a load run of approximately 2.5 pounds of heroin, a kilogram of fentanyl, and 40 pounds of methamphetamine in December 2019. The defendant also arranged for the delivery of 10,000 fentanyl pills from California to Colorado in January 2020, and then distributed or made attempts to distribute a portion of those pills in Colorado. At the time of the defendant's arrest, federal agents seized a Sig Sauer pistol as well as over $20,000 cash in the defendant's apartment. The weapon and cash were forfeited.

"Together with our law enforcement partners, the U.S. Attorney's Office is committed to stopping criminals from poisoning our communities with illicit narcotics," said United States Attorney Cole Finegan. "With this sentencing a dangerous drug dealer is off the street and Colorado is safer as a result."

"This sentence of Palacios is a great example of the collaborative environment the OCDETF Strike Force Group-II has created which has enabled us to thoroughly investigate this drug trafficking organization, including their money laundering activities" said Andy Tsui, IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge. "We are proud to provide our financial expertise as we work alongside our law enforcement partners to bring criminals to justice."

"This lengthy sentence shows the commitment to stop the poison of drugs into our communities," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider of the FBI Denver Division. "The FBI is steadfast in investigating criminals like Palacios and the threat posed by the illicit drug culture he promotes that endangers our society. The FBI and our partners will continue to pursue these bad actors who feel they are above the law as we work to protect youth and other vulnerable populations from being their next victim."

"Our special agents and criminal analysts work night and day to keep every corner of Colorado free from the scourge of dangerous drugs like meth and fentanyl," said Ryan L. Spradlin, Special Agent in Charge, HSI Denver. "This sentence highlights the commitment our investigators, prosecutors from the United States Attorney's Office and law enforcement partners have to stop the flow of drugs into our communities."

United States District Court Judge Raymond P. Moore sentenced the defendant on November 29, 2021.

IRS-CI, the FBI, ICE ERO, HSI, the Colorado State Patrol, the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office, and the Douglas County Sheriff's Office conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Cyrus Chung handled the prosecution of the case.

This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.