Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman today announced that the State Grand Jury has indicted eight individuals, including several high-ranking members of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club, for operating a drug trafficking ring in the Denver-metro area. More than two and a half pounds of methamphetamine with a street value of approximately $40,000 was seized. Known by the code name of “Operation Tick and Flea Collar,” the investigation targeted a local drug trafficking organization led by Philip Lee Duran (D.O.B. 09/22/74, aka “Bandido Fee”), Michael Derek Mensen (D.O.B. 12/12/69), aka “Bandido Tick”), and Lornezo Leuis Sojo (D.O.B. 07/21/75). The defendants are accused of violating the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act, as a result of various criminal activities including trafficking large quantities of methamphetamine, unlawful possession of firearms, money laundering, and conspiracy.
“Under Duran’s leadership, this group sourced its drug supply from a variety of wholesale distributors and then sold them throughout the Denver-metro area,” said Attorney General Coffman. “Law enforcement agencies across Colorado again coordinated to interrupt a drug-trafficking operation run by the Bandidos Motorcycle Club which is well known for its use of violence and intimidation.”
Duran is currently at large and anyone with any information on his whereabouts may be eligible for a reward of up to $2,000. The public should contact Metro Gang Task Force Investigator Mohlman at (303) 597-5103. Anyone with information who wishes to remain anonymous should call CRIME STOPPERS at 720-913-STOP (7867), or text a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) and then use the title “DMCS” and enter the message.
Also charged as part of the criminal organization are Hugo A. Vaca (08/28/78), Nicholas Murillo (D.O.B. 08/21/91), Julieann Nicole Linebarger (D.O.B. 11/24/80), Erika Navarrette (D.O.B. 07/18/89), and Zackaria Bengheshir (D.O.B. 10/23/80). All defendants other than Duran have been arrested and are awaiting trial.
The Colorado Attorney General’s Office began investigating this ring in August 2014 and worked closely with the Metro Gang Task Force as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration.
The filing of criminal charges or an indictment is merely a formal accusation that an individual committed a crime. Each defendant should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. These cases will be prosecuted in Denver District Court by attorneys with the Criminal Justice Section of the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.