Man seized in federal marijuana raid pleads not guilty to weapons charge

A man arrested in connection with major federal raids on Colorado medical-marijuana businesses pleaded not guilty Thursday to a weapons charge.

Hector Diaz, 49, was also allowed to be released from custody, after he put up $25,000 of his own money as bond. As a condition of his bond, Diaz must submit to GPS monitoring and is not allowed to have contact with anybody living at several addresses that were raided last month.

He is also not allowed to have contact with an attorney, David Furtado, who is among the people a federal search warrant lists as targets of the investigation that led to the raids. Furtado is also the registered agent for a business called Colorado West Metal, which Diaz’s attorney has said Diaz is involved with.

Diaz, who is a citizen of Colombia, was arrested when federal agents swarmed a house in Cherry Hills Village, during which they found several semi-automatic rifles and handguns. Prosecutors allege one of those rifles is among the firearms Diaz is holding in a picture taken in February inside what authorities believe is the Cherry Hills Village home. Because Diaz’s visa is only for tourism and limited business purposes, he is not allowed to possess a firearm in the United States.

Sources have told The Denver Post that last month’s raids on medical-marijuana businesses were part of an investigation looking at possible links to Colombian drug cartels. Prosecutors, however, have so far not presented any evidence or made any allegations of cartel connections against Diaz.

While out on bond, Diaz will initially live at a home on 15th Street, his attorney said in court Thursday. He will be under house arrest and must check in with probation officials before going anywhere.

“You can’t leave the house unless they know you’re leaving,” federal Magistrate Judge Kathleen Tafoya said during Thursday’s hearing.

For the first time in Diaz’s case, supporters of Diaz sat in the courtroom Thursday. Diaz smiled at them as he was led out of the courtroom for processing before his release. A woman blew him a kiss and waived.

John Ingold: 303-954-1068, jingold@denverpost.com or twitter.com/john_ingold

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