Oscar Arriola was flown from Mexico to Denver late Tuesday after being held in custody in Mexico.
He appeared in Denver Federal Court on Wednesday afternoon and was told he faces three counts: conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, conspiracy to import cocaine and conspiracy to money launder.
The charges were initially filed in 2003, but prosecution was not possible until now.
If he is found guilty, Arriola could face life in prison. The government asked he be kept in jail until the end of the trial. There is another hearing next Monday for his arraignment and to decide if he will be kept in custody.
In 2004, the Mexican drug cartel was storing tractor-trailer loads of cocaine at a ranch in El Paso County, according to federal authorities.
At that time, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration released information about a 2.5 year world-wide investigation that lead to the seizure of 5,100 pounds of cocaine, 521 pounds of marijuana and about $10.4 million.
Drugs funneled through Colorado were distributed to many other states, 9Wants to Know has learned.
Tractor-trailers were used to pull into a barn and unload the drugs, authorities told 9Wants to Know Wednesday.
If you have information about this story or a tip for investigative reporter Jace Larson, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303-871-1432.
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