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Corruption on Colorado's North Metro Drug Task Force?

In 2008, the North Metro Drug Task Force raided a number of “high-end” homes in the Denver suburbs, seizing millions of dollars in drugs and cash. The houses were used as “grow houses,” where marijuana plants were grown. As a result of the raids, Dan Tang, a politically connected Thornton restaurant owner was arrested, allegedly as the ringleader of and the person who funded the drug operation.
The investigation–known as “operation fortune cookie”–may have been compromised, however, because allegedly someone on the Task Force wrote a letter to Tang, informing him that he was under investigation. The letter was discovered when Tang’s house was raided.
Tang was charged with money laundering, but has not been charged with any drug transactions. On November 20, 2010, he entered a guilty plea to a single charge of money laundering. He will be sentenced on March 31. It is rumored that he will receive probation.
In a significant development, two of the former members of the Task Force have filed suit a “whistleblowers” suit in federal court, claiming that there was “corruption” within the Task Force, and that when they tried to go up the chain of command in their respective departments to report the corruption, they were rebuffed and told not to cooperate in a Drug Enforcement investigation into the source of the leak to Tang. The officers were subsequently removed from the Task Force.
Further complicating the situation, after the raid, Tang allegedly gave $400,000 in cash to the former mayor of the City of Thornton and the same amount to an attorney. Both were to hold the cash for Tang, allegedly because authorities were in the process of tying-up Tang’s bank accounts. A short time later, the money was returned to Tang. Neither of these persons was criminally charged.
I will report further developments in this fiasco. Tang said he knew that growing marijuana was illegal, but that he was dragged into the operation by some of his relatives. Some of these other persons have already been convicted. Tang’s attorney said that Tang had never seen a marijuana plant or smoked marijuana. It is difficult to imagine how these facts somehow mitigate the seriousness of what Tang did.Westword newspaper says that the investigation revealed that Tang’s involvement in the drug operation involved more than just supplying its financing.
Stay tuned.

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