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RAVEN Operation Nets 7 Arrests

UPDATE: Last Suspect in RAVEN COCCA Investigation Captured Wednesday
Posted on 08/30/2023

(Aug. 31, 2023) – The last suspect wanted in connection with a Regional Anti-Violence Enforcement Network investigation was captured Wednesday night at a house in the North Aurora neighborhood.

Donald Howard, 18, was one of 12 suspects wanted on numerous violent and organized crimes as part of a two-year long Colorado Organized Crime Control Act investigation. On Tuesday, task force members conducted a multi-agency operation that resulted in the arrests of seven of nine outstanding suspects involved in the investigation. Howard was not located Tuesday during the operation.

Task force members continued to investigate Howard and connected him to a house in the 3000 block of Wheeling Street in Aurora. Task force investigators and the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team responded Wednesday night and arrested Howard without incident.

Information previously released.

(Aug. 30, 2023) – The Regional Anti-Violence Enforcement Network conducted a multi-agency operation early Tuesday morning and arrested seven people in connection with a Colorado Organized Crime Control Act investigation.

The two-year long investigation focused on 12 suspects who belong to a criminal organization called Blitz Gang Official. The suspects are the only members of the organization and collectively face more than 300 criminal charges stemming from numerous crimes of violence throughout the Denver metro area.

Three of those 12 suspects – Julian Nava-Hernandez, 18, Jose Cano-Venzor, 19, and Juan Rivas-Luna, 18 – were already in jail prior to Tuesday morning’s operation.

“Operation Family Ties,” a coordinated, multi-jurisdictional effort by SWAT Teams from the Aurora Police Department, Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office and Denver Police Department, focused on taking the remaining nine suspects into custody. Search warrants were executed early Tuesday morning at five locations in Aurora and one in Denver.

The operation resulted in the arrests of the following suspects without incident:

• Luis Ramirez, 23.
• Dominik Ramirez, 21.
• Jonathen Ramirez, 18.
• Wendy Rivas, 44.
• Jason Frias, 19.
• Keyandre Robinson, 21.
• Trayvon Weatherspoon, 19.

Donald Howard, 18, wasn’t located during Tuesday’s operation and is considered a fugitive. The 12th suspect barricaded in his home when officers arrived and announced their presence. Officers later discovered he died by suicide.

The suspects are charged in Arapahoe District Court. The 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the case.

“The effectiveness of the RAVEN Task Force in countering violent crime stems from its methodical and scientific strategy in pinpointing and prioritizing the exceedingly active and dangerous offenders that impact our communities,” said RAVEN Task Force Commander Mike Gaskill. “This accomplishment is magnified by the cooperation demonstrated by the task force's partner agencies, enabling RAVEN to systematically dismantle violent criminal enterprises like Blitz Gang Official. The real praise goes to the hardworking investigators and analysts of RAVEN, whose commitment is unwavering to keep our communities safe.”

In addition to the arrests, task force officers seized two fully automatic AR-15 rifles, a Draco AK-47-style assault pistol, two silencers and nine handguns, including two featuring “switches” or “auto-sears,” which is an illegal device used to convert a semi-automatic handgun into a fully automatic one.

“The RAVEN Task Force combines local, state and federal resources creating a powerful force multiplier in addressing large scale, organized criminal operations,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Brent Beavers. “Today’s arrests are the result of a nearly two-year long investigation targeting trigger pullers who will no longer victimize our communities.”

Anyone with any information about Donald Howard or his whereabouts is asked to call 911 or Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720.913-STOP (7867). Tipsters can remain anonymous and could be eligible for a reward of up to $2,000.


About the Regional Anti-Violence Enforcement Network
The Regional Anti-Violence Enforcement Network, also known as RAVEN, is a regional task force led by the Aurora Police Department. It is comprised of law enforcement partners from the Denver, Arvada, Thornton and Lakewood police departments, the Arapahoe County, Adams County, Douglas County and Jefferson County sheriff’s offices, the Arapahoe and Denver district attorney’s offices, the Colorado Department of Corrections, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Homeland Security Investigations, Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area and the Colorado U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Joe Moylan
Public Information Officer
Aurora Police Department

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