36 Indicted In Western Colo. Drug Bust
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - A drug and racketeering investigation in Western Colorado has resulted in a grand jury indictment of 36 people. The Western Colorado Drug Task Force, in partnership with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team (TRIDENT), with the 21st Judicial District Attorney's Office are moving forward with dozens of arrests. It was countless man hours and constant communication that led to the take-down of the most sophisticated drug ring ever seen in Western Colorado, reported authorities at a press conference Thursday. Jim Schrant, the Drug Enforcement Administration resident agent in Grand Junction, said, "This is an organization directed specifically out of Mexico. They're sending their poison to these small towns." Dan Rubinstein, with the Mesa County District Attorney's office, said, "We've seen it in fleeting, come through here, but never located here, based here and operating from here in this manner." "This is a perfect case to illustrate that it can happen anywhere. No matter how safe you think your community is, how small you think your community is, the big time drug dealers are going to set up," said Schrant. Multiple agencies played a role in the investigation and the arrests, "Took about 45 minutes. You had immediately teams coming together, SWAT teams from numerous jurisdictions being deployed all over the state, seamlessly," said Schrant. "The reason why we went about this investigation the way we did, utilizing grand juries and wiretaps, is to take the organization down as a whole," said Rubinstein. "We've had large distribution organizations before, we've had large importation organizations, but this organization was doing both," Schrant said. In a region that's been fighting a war on meth and cocaine for years, this successful investigation is a milestone for Western Colorado authorities. Chief John Camper of the Grand Junction Police Department, said, "We've known for years that if you impact that hub, if you impact that drug trafficking, that you can also make an impact on numerous other crimes that occur in a community." Officials say encouraging drug treatment and intervention will be critical at a time like this, when a significant portion of drugs are off the streets.