Denver man found guilty in federal court of conspiracy to distribute cocaine

A Denver man who goes by the alias “Money Mike” and was responsible for a large scale drug trafficking operation has been found guilty in federal court of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, prosecutors said.

Michael Benitez-Lopez, 36, was found guilty Friday of one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, one count of cocaine distribution and one count of use of a telephone in furtherance of drug trafficking, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney for Colorado.

Benitez-Lopez, from March 2017 to April 1, 2018, received and distributed more than 440 pounds of cocaine, which was sold to lower-level dealers throughout the metro area, the release said.

“Cocaine continues to be a serious problem in Metro Denver and in Colorado,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn. “Working with the DEA and other law enforcement partners, we are targeting these large-scale traffickers and their networks.”

The trial, before Chief U.S. District  Judge Philip A. Brimmer, lasted three days, and the jury deliberated for two hours before reaching its verdicts.

Benitez-Lopez faces not less than 10 years and up to life in federal prison, the release said. He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 1.