Montrose man sentenced to prison for drug trafficking and money laundering


Date: July 15, 2022


DENVER — The United States Attorney's Office for the District of Colorado announces Omar Briceno-Quijano, of Montrose, Colorado, was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and heroin and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

According to the plea agreement, between January 1, 2019, and December 18, 2019, Briceno-Quijano was mainly located in Mexico and was involved in sending illegal narcotics from Mexico to the western slope of Colorado, to include Montrose, Colorado. Once the narcotics were in the United States and Colorado, the defendant would receive telephone calls from drug customers. Once the defendant had the drug order, he would contact a drug courier, who would deliver the narcotics to the customer. One way the defendant received drug proceeds was through electronic wire transfers of funds from Colorado to Mexico.

Judge Christine M. Arguello sentenced Briceno-Quijano on July 14, 2022. In addition to 14 years in prison, he will serve a term of five years of supervised release.

"This defendant was a ring-leader in a major drug trafficking operation, impacting a small community in Colorado," said U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan. "This was a lengthy prosecution that involved 13 defendants. This significant sentence demonstrates our commitment to work with our law enforcement partners to keep offenders from dealing drugs on our streets."

"IRS:CI special agents are uniquely trained to trace financial transactions and use this expertise to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations," said Andy Tsui, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation, Denver Field Office. "Omar Briceno-Quijano's sentence reflects the seriousness of his crimes and IRS:CI's commitment to work with our law enforcement partners to stop the flow of drugs into and drug proceeds out of the United States."

"This sentencing proves that DEA and our law enforcement partners are aggressively committed to disrupting the flow of dangerous drugs into our communities by stopping it at the source, whether here or abroad," said Brian Besser, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration Denver Field Office. "I applaud our Agents and Task Force officers who were able to stay the course on an extensive investigation and successful prosecution, as well as the U.S. Marshals who ultimately apprehended Briceno-Quijano in Mexico."

IRS-CI, DEA Rocky Mountain Division-Montrose Post of Duty, the Montrose Police Department, the Montrose County Sheriff's Office, and the Seventh Judicial District Drug Task Force, and the United States Marshals Service investigated this case. Assistant United States Attorneys Alexander Duncan and Zachary Phillips handled the prosecution.

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