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Drug dealer in San Luis Valley sentenced to 16 years in prison

Prison bars
Posted at 3:10 PM, Aug 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-02 17:11:14-04

DURANGO, Colo. — A drug dealer from Monte Vista who was arrested in 2020 was sentenced to prison on Tuesday.

Karl Kloeppel, of Monte Vista, was sentenced on Tuesday to 16 years in federal prison, followed by four years of supervised release after he pleaded guilty to possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and possessing a firearm during a drug trafficking crime in mid-April, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Colorado.

Based on court documents and evidence presented at the sentencing, Kloeppel, who was a convicted felon, had been operating as a drug dealer in the San Luis Valley area prior to his arrest.

On Oct. 16, 2020, federal agents and local authorities began keeping surveillance on Kloeppel pending a state warrant. That day, Kloeppel left his home in a BMW while carrying about 210 grams of pure methamphetamine and a .45 caliber handgun. When a Colorado State Patrol trooper pulled him over, Kloeppel handed the drugs and gun to a passenger in the car and told him to "put it in his pants," according to the attorney's office.

During a subsequent search warrant of his home, authorities found video of him entering the car with the drugs and gun. They also found texts from his phone involving buying and selling drugs, according to the attorney's office.

After he was indicted, he asked his girlfriend on a recorded phone call from jail to “throw herself under the bus” by claiming possession of the drugs and going to prison instead, according to the attorney's office.

“Mr. Kloeppel was caught red-handed with thousands of doses of methamphetamine and a .45 caliber handgun, but tried to deflect the blame on others,” said U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan. “Let me be clear: if you deal drugs and possess illegal weapons in the San Luis Valley, you will be caught and spend years of your life in prison.”

DEA Denver Field Division Special Agent in Charge Brian Besser said methamphetamine remains a significant threat and a major priority of DEA’s Denver Field Division.

"Today I can say, without question, we are safer with this dangerous drug trafficker off our streets,” Besser said.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Monte Vista Police Department, and Colorado State Patrol assisted with this investigation.