4 arrested at Denver hotel on weapons charges; no known threat to All-Star game, says FBI
DENVER (KKTV) - UPDATE 7/16/2021 - Three of the four suspects arrested in connection to this case are facing federal charges. Gabriel Rodriguez, Ricardo Rodriguez, and Richard Platt are expected to be in front of a federal magistrate at 2 p.m. Friday.
We will update this article as more information becomes available.
(7/11/2021) - Law enforcement “evaded a pretty serious situation,” Denver city officials said Sunday following the arrests of four people in a downtown hotel and the alleged recovery of numerous drugs, cash and weapons.
Despite the hotel’s proximity to Coors Field, and despite public speculation regarding the weapons allegedly stashed at the hotel, the FBI and Denver Police Department both said the incident did not appear to be connected to the ongoing Major League Baseball All-Star Game festivities.
“What I can say is in this particular situation we are not aware of any -- let me say that again -- we are not aware of any ongoing threats related to these individuals or the situation. And if that changes we will share that information with you,” said Police Chief Paul Pazen.
“We have no reason to believe this incident was connected to terrorism or a threat directed at the All-Star Game. We are not aware of any threat to the All-Star Game events, venues, players, or the community at this time,” the FBI said in a statement Sunday.
Nonetheless, the stash of drugs and guns could have led to a dangerous incident, law enforcement said, praising the staff at the Maven Hotel for sounding the alarm Friday night.
“We want to thank the entire staff there ... for doing things the right way,” Pazen said.
A spokesperson for Sage Hospitality, which operates the Maven Hotel, told 11 News they were “incredibly proud that our team swiftly alerted the authorities.”
According to court papers obtained by 11 News Monday, one of the hotel’s housekeeping staff was cleaning one of the rooms Friday evening when she saw multiple firearms.
“The witness notified her supervisor, who began to do research on who was in room [redacted]. The supervisor discovered which vehicles were associated with room [redacted] and also found that room [redacted] was also associated with the same suspects renting both rooms. The staff went to the vehicles that were secured in the parking garage and could plainly see in the vehicles plate carriers and high-capacity magazines.” - Excerpt from arrest affidavit
Hotel staff also found that the occupants of the rooms were supposed to check out that day but had asked to stay several more days, court papers said.
Police responded to the hotel, located on 1850 Wazee St.
“It should be noted that this information was concerning to officers due to the location of the rifle, ballistic vest, duty belt, and requesting a room with a balcony, coupled with the fact that the 2021 Major League Baseball All-Star Game events happening in the immediate area of the hotel. There is a propensity for mass casualty incidents in scenarios such as the above where many people are gathered together in a small area for a single event. - Excerpt from arrest affidavit
Two floors were put on a shelter-in-place order while law enforcement searched the room in question and a second room, finding meth, ecstasy, heroin and a hefty amount of cash, a Denver magistrate judge would later confirm. Court papers said one of the suspects was also allegedly carrying drugs and a loaded 9 mm semiautomatic handgun in a backpack.
The exact amount of drugs and weapons recovered has not been released.
Three men and a woman were taken into custody without incident and have been identified as the following:
Richard Platt, 42, facing charges of investigation of possession of a weapon by a previous offender, possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute
Gabriel Rodriguez, 48:, facing charges of investigation of possession of a weapon by a previous offender, possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute
Ricardo Rodriguez, 44, facing charges of investigation of possession of a weapon by a previous offender
Kanoelehua Serikawa, 43, facing charges of investigation of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, and a warrant from another jurisdiction
Two of the suspects made appearances via video before a judge Sunday, where their bond was set at $50,000. The other suspects are expected in court this week.
Ricardo Rodriguez said during a jail video call with 11 News sister station CBS Denver that there was no mass shooting plot despite the cache of firearms.
“I don’t know what his intentions were; from my understanding, selling them and trading them. That was about it,” Rodriguez said of the suspect who allegedly had most of the weapons.
“... He advised me he wanted the guns, trading them with other buddies. That was about it.”
Police commanders said the same at a briefing Sunday morning for Denver Police Department supervisors working the All-Star Game, that the incident was likely more about drugs than terrorism, CBS Denver’s Brian Maass reported.
City officials reiterated multiple times during a news conference Sunday that it was safe for people to enjoy the All-Star Game.
“I want to assure and encourage everyone to come downtown, continue to enjoy this festivities, and do all that you plan to do while you were in our city. And if you’re a resident of our city, to do all that you plan to do when you decided to come down and enjoy our great downtown,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said.
“We have the great fortune of having the All-Star Game in our beautiful city, and we want to reassure folks that the safety department, all aspects of the safety department, the police department, fire department, Denver Sheriff’s Department, our federal partners, the Colorado Rockies, that we have a very detailed and comprehensive plan to ensure the safety of our community members,” Pazen said.
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