NEWS: Wed. Dec. 22, 2010

Dec 22nd @ 4:12 pm in News by Scott Staley

After a couple of last minute changes Delta County adopted a $28.1 million budget for next year. The Delta County Independent reports those two last minute amendments  means that there’ll be more spayed and neutered dogs and cats in the county and one less property tax assessor.  Commissioner Jan McCracken, chairing and attending her last County meeting due to term limits, added an unexpected twist in the proceedings by proposing and getting adopted two amendments to the budget even before the budget itself was officially approved.
Source: Delta County Independent (Posted 4:12p by Jim Kapp)

The Montrose City Council agrees that $300 a night for a hotel room is excessive. According to the Daily Press City Attorney Russ Duree submitted an expense report for over $1300 for a 3 day stay at the Ritz-Carlton in Denver back in September.  He was attending  conference classes sponsored by Continuing Legal Education  International. And as a result  the city council has approved a new method that gives the city better control over how it spends taxpayer money…
Montrose Daily Press  (Posted 4:13p by Jim Kapp)

U.S. Attorney John Walsh and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Acting Special Agent in Charge Kevin Merrill announced that four Durango area defendants were arrested for trafficking cocaine last month. All four defendants were arrested without incident.  They each are being held in federal custody, without bond, pending a resolution of their cases.  This 10 month investigation has resulted in the seizure of more than a kilogram of cocaine and approximately $25,000 in drug related assets.

Three of the four defendants were arrested on November 16, 2010, based on a Criminal Complaint, which is a probable cause charging document.  The three arrested on November 16th, plus a fourth person, were indictment by a federal grand jury in Denver on December 15, 2010.

Those arrested and indicted are:

Rogelio Lariz-Luna, age 43, of Durango, Colorado

Jose Mendoza-Lariz, age 18, of Phoenix, Arizona

Irma Garcia, age 31, of Farmington, New Mexico

Heraclio Rubio-Sesma, age 35, of Farmington, New Mexico

According to court documents, a joint investigation between the DEA and the Southwest Drug Task Force in Durango revealed a cocaine trafficking organization that was bringing significant quantities of cocaine from Arizona and New Mexico to Durango for distribution.  In addition to the four members charged federally, three other people were charged in state court by the Sixth Judicial District.

According to the federal indictment, on November 17, 2010, Lariz-Luna and Mendoza-Lariz knowingly distributed, and possessed with intent to distribute, 500 grams or more of cocaine.  On that same date, Lariz-Luna and Mendoza-Lariz attempted to distribute and attempted to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.  The indictment further alleges that the two, Lariz-Luna and Mendoza-Lariz, knowingly conspired with others to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.

On August 6, 2010 through October 29, 2010, Lariz-Luna, Irma Garcia, and Rubio-Sesma knowingly distributed and possessed with intent to distribute cocaine.  On January 6, 2010, the same defendants knowingly conspired to distribute, and possessed with intent to distribute cocaine.

Lastly, from May 14, 2010 through September 16, 2010, Rubio-Sesma allegedly unlawfully reentered the United States after deportation.  Rubio-Sesma had a previous conviction also for unlawful reentry.

“Thanks to the persistence of the DEA and the Southwest Drug Task Force, major suppliers of cocaine have been arrested,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.

“DEA and our law enforcement partners are working hard each day in the Four Corners region to protect those communities from becoming targets of drug trafficking organizations that attempt to operate there,” said DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Kevin Merrill.

The penalty for conspiracy to distribute/possession with intent to distribute, distribute/possession with intent to distribute, and attempt to distribute/possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, is not less than 5 years, and not more than 40 years imprisonment, and up to a $2,000,000 fine.  Distribution/possession with intent to distribute cocaine carries a penalty of not more than 20 years in federal prison, and up to a $1,000,000 fine. The penalty for unlawfully reentering the country after a prior felony conviction is not more than 10 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Southwest Drug Task Force in Durango, Colorado.

The defendants are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Norvell.

These charges are only allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
(Posted 4:12p by Jim Kapp)