Former State Judge Pleads Guilty to Obstructing Federal Drug Trafficking Investigation

by Julia Cardi

A former Colorado district court judge has pleaded guilty to obstructing a federal investigation into cocaine trafficking, according to the office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado.

According to a news release, Ryan Kamada learned about the investigation in his official capacity as a judge in the 19th Judicial District when he received a phone call from a from a task force officer who was seeking a warrant. Kamada recused himself from the case when the officer pointed out his connection to the trafficker on social media, but the next morning Kamada told a friend, Geoffrey Chacon, about the investigation. Chacon tipped off the trafficker targeted by the investigation. According to the news release, Kamada and Chacon have both known the trafficker since high school. Kamada warned Chacon the trafficker was being watched and told him to avoid the trafficker, states the release, and Chacon told the targeted trafficker about the warrant.

“Chacon subsequently informed the drug trafficker about the warrant and modified Chacon’s own behavior in order to avoid law enforcement attention,” states the release. “The information that Chacon provided to the drug trafficker also caused the drug trafficker to change his pattern of conduct and substantially interfered with the task force’s investigation.” According to the information provided, Chacon also destroyed records of his communication with the trafficker.

Kamada served as a district court judge beginning in January 2019. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Dec. 4.

According to the news release, the FBI’s Denver field office is investigating the case with assistance from the Greeley Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Fields and trial attorney John Taddei of the criminal division’s Public Integrity Section are the case’s prosecutors.