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Fourth person arrested as part of investigation into Denver fire that killed 5 Senegalese immigrants

Tanya Bui, 23, has been charged with federal drug and weapons offenses. Court documents connect her to juvenile suspects charged in the house fire.

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A fourth person has been arrested as a result of the investigation into a north Denver fire that killed five people in August, authorities announced Friday.

Tanya Bui, 23, has been charged with marijuana possession and intent to distribute, as well as possession of a firearm for the purpose of drug trafficking. 

Bui, who lives in Littleton, was arrested after an agent for the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives investigating the fire linked a cell phone used by one of the juvenile suspects in the case back to her. Federal court documents note that Bui pays for a phone for one of the suspects, who is related to her, though she uses a different phone for herself. 

Three male suspects, two who are 16 years old and one who is 15, were arrested on Wednesday as part of the fire investigation. The teens, who had their first court appearance Friday, face 28 charges — including murder, arson, burglary and assault — related to the deaths of five members of a family from Senegal, including two children. 

A search warrant uncovered social media conversations where Bui allegedly bought and sold drugs and firearms, according to documents. 

“The returns to the state-issued search warrants provided substantial evidence for the homicide investigation,” Bui’s arrest affidavit says. “It also became very clear that Tanya Bui was engaged in narcotics distribution and illegal firearms sales.”

An image from federal court documents shows a handgun allegedly owned by Tanya Bui. (Screenshot)

The court documents include photos Bui saved to her Snapchat account featuring drugs she was looking to sell, including cocaine and marijuana. Investigators noted Bui’s tattoos and well-manicured nails to indicate she is in some of the photos, though none of them show her face.

Messages between Bui and the suspect whose phone bill she pays, obtained from a search of his iCloud account, indicate Bui had the suspect sell narcotics for her in exchange for some of the profit.

When officers searched Bui’s residence Wednesday, they found a bag of suspected fentanyl pills, 7 pounds of marijuana, a handgun and a box containing more than $6,000 in cash. The initial search warrant was part of the house fire investigation, according to court documents. 

Investigators also searched the room of Bui’s relative and found similar pills as well as more than $1,000 in cash, the court documents say.


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