A federal judge said Monday he will allow a suspect arrested in connection with major federal raids on medical-marijuana businesses to be released on a $25,000 bond.
Magistrate Judge Craig Shaffer also said he would require Hector Diaz to submit to GPS monitoring, to not obtain new travel documents, to stay in Colorado and to stay away from addresses connected to the raids. Because court officials must verify that the address where Diaz will live meets the conditions, Diaz will remain in custody until at least Thursday, when a new hearing is scheduled in the case.
Diaz is the only person to be arrested so far in connection with the largest federal raids on medical-marijuana businesses ever in Colorado.
Federal agents hit more than a dozen addresses during the raids last month. Diaz, 49 and a citizen of Colombia, was arrested after a SWAT raid on a swanky Cherry Hills Village home, during which authorities also encountered — and tackled — a man holding a loaded gun, according to court documents and testimony.
Sources have told The Denver Post that the raids targeted an operation that investigators suspect may have ties to Colombian drug cartels. But Diaz has not been charged with marijuana-related crimes. Instead, he faces one count of being in possession of a firearm after entering the country on a non-immigrant visa. The charge stems from a photograph investigators say they obtained showing Diaz holding what appear to be semi-automatic rifles inside what investigators believe is the Cherry Hills Village home that was raided.
While prosecutors say that should be enough to justify holding Diaz without bond, Shaffer said last week during a hearing that a photo, alone, isn’t enough to prove that Diaz is so dangerous he shouldn’t be allowed to bond out of jail.
“I’m not going to overreact based solely on a photograph,” Shaffer said.
John Ingold: 303-954-1068, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/john_ingold