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A longtime Greeley coach and teacher pleaded guilty late last month in federal court to destroying evidence in an investigation into a large-scale cocaine distribution network in northern Colorado, which also has been tied to a former Weld District Court judge.
Geoffrey Chacon, 32, pleaded guilty Nov. 21 in U.S. District Court to one count of knowingly destroying evidence with the intent of impeding a federal criminal investigation. Specifically, Chacon is accused of destroying on May 4 text messages between himself, an accused drug dealer and a local judge about an ongoing investigation into a cocaine distribution network based in Greeley.
Court records don’t identify the two other suspects, referring to them simply as “drug dealer” and “judge.” However, as one of the terms of his personal recognizance bond, Chacon is prohibited from contact with Alberto “Beto” Loya and former Weld District Court Judge Ryan Kamada.
Loya, 46, was indicted July 16 by the Weld County grand jury on suspicion of 21 felony charges, including 10 counts of illegal distribution of a Schedule 1 controlled substance, eight counts of conspiracy to illegally distribute a Schedule 1 controlled substance, two counts of money laundering and one count of illegal distribution of marijuana concentrate. He is accused of running a sophisticated narcotics network responsible for distributing large amounts of cocaine in Greeley, Evans, Loveland and Longmont, according to court records.
News about Loya’s indictment, and the arrests of some of his associates, was released Aug. 21 by the Greeley Police Department, a day after Kamada’s sudden resignation.
Kamada was first a Weld County magistrate beginning in 2015. He was appointed in September 2018 by Gov. John Hickenlooper to a district court judgeship following the retirement of Elizabeth Strobel.
Kamada joined Burnham Law in September where his areas of practice include family law, mediation and arbitration. The firm has offices in Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs and Fort Collins.
In October 2018, the Weld County Drug Task Force, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI launched an investigation into Loya’s alleged cocaine distribution network. That investigation included a variety of tactics including the use of tracking devices on suspect vehicles and wiretaps, according to court records.
On Oct. 5, 2018, investigators intercepted a text message Chacon sent to the “drug dealer.” Chacon asked the drug dealer if he could spot him a “bag” of cocaine. He said he would settle up after getting paid from refereeing.
Similar texts setting up buys for personal amounts of cocaine were intercepted Oct. 6, Nov. 1 and Nov. 11. On Dec. 7, Chacon sent the drug dealer a text asking if he wanted to get together to “have a snow storm.”
Chacon went to the drug dealer’s office where police say he and the drug dealer took cocaine together. Court records note the drug dealer is suspected of conducting some of his illegal drug business out of his office.
Loya is accused of engaging in numerous cocaine buys with an undercover officer at his office, 3400 16th St., Suite MM, in Greeley, according to a 50-page, 62-count indictment made public in September.
On April 23, the “judge” was serving as the on-call judge for the 19th Judicial District, which encompasses all of Weld County. On that day, a member of the Weld County Drug Task Force called the judge about securing a warrant for a tracking device for the drug dealer’s car. The investigator mentioned to the judge that she noticed he was a friend on Facebook with the drug dealer and Chacon, according to court records.
Kamada and Chacon’s Facebook accounts are no longer active.
The judge recused himself from signing off on the warrant given the relationship. Early the next day, on April 24, the judge called Chacon and told him the police were watching the drug dealer’s house, car and phone, according to court records.
Later that day, Chacon called one of his cousins and asked him to warn the drug dealer about the investigation. Chacon told his cousin not to name the judge as the source of the information, according to court records.
On May 3, Chacon told the drug dealer about the investigation in person outside of a bar on 8th Avenue in Greeley. That night, Chacon contacted the judge through an Xbox video game and asked for an update on the investigation.
The judge told Chacon he was at a lunch earlier that day with other judges from the district and learned detectives were pursuing the investigation “the old school way.” The judge added people within the organization “were flipping” and cooperating with law enforcement, according to court records.
The next day, Chacon deleted all of his text messages with the drug dealer and the judge. The drug task force, the FBI and the DEA were able to successfully recover some of those texts, but not all, according to court records.
The information Chacon provided to the drug dealer “substantially interfered” with the drug task force’s investigation, as the drug dealer began using a different car and a different phone to conduct his illegal business, according to court records.
The drug dealer slowed down his activities and cleaned his home and his office, which is why investigators didn’t find any evidence of illicit activity when, on May 15, search warrants were executed by the drug task force, according to court records. Chacon’s destruction of the text messages also has hampered law enforcement’s investigation into the judge’s decision to leak information about the ongoing investigation, according to court records.
Formal charges have not yet been filed against Kamada, said Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Chacon is scheduled to return to U.S. District Court at 9 a.m. May 15 for sentencing before Philip Brimmer, chief judge of the U.S. District Court of Colorado. The statutory penalty for his crime is a federal prison sentence not to exceed 20 years. According to disposition paperwork, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is recommending a prison term of 15 to 46 months.
Chacon was most recently hired over the summer to serve as assistant principal at Prairie Heights Middle School. He resigned about a month after he was hired, said Theresa Myers, spokeswoman for Greeley-Evans School District 6.
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