MCSO Accepting Citizens’ Academy Applications

Montrose, COLO.—The application period is now open for the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office Citizens’ Academy. The academy starts Wednesday, Oct. 5, and will continue for 12 weeks with a graduation ceremony in December.   

“The academy is a great way for residents to learn more about the way the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office helps protect and serve our community,” said Sergeant Steve Gustin. “This hands-on experience provides participants knowledge of procedures, policies, and information on supporting agencies including both dispatch and the posse.”

The classes will be held for 12 weeks, every Wednesday, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.  Training will take place at the MCSO—1200 North Grand Avenue—in the conference room.

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age to attend. The comprehensive instruction will cover a wide variety of law enforcement issues each week including the following: Sheriff’s Posse, Traffic Stops, DUI Investigation, Response to Resistance, Investigations, Crime Scene and Evidence Collection, Less Lethal, Records & Civil Process, Reception, Victim Services, Procurement, Peer Support, Drug Investigations, Recruitment and Hiring, Field Training Program, K9, SWAT, WestCo Dispatch, and Detentions.   

Applications are available online or in person at the MCSO (1200 North Grand) during regular business hours.  For more information, please contact Sergeant Gustin at 970-252-4023 or



Montrose Man Sentenced to Prison for Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering

As originally posted on the United States Attorney Offices District of Colorado website.

Denver – The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announces Omar Briceno-Quijano, age 31, of Montrose, Colorado, was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and heroin and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

According to the plea agreement, between January 1, 2019, and December 18, 2019, Briceno-Quijano was mainly located in Mexico and was involved in sending illegal narcotics from Mexico to the western slope of Colorado, to include Montrose, Colorado. Once the narcotics were in the United States and Colorado, the defendant would receive telephone calls from drug customers. Once the defendant had the drug order, he would contact a drug courier, who would deliver the narcotics to the customer. One way the defendant received drug proceeds was through electronic wire transfers of funds from Colorado to Mexico.

Judge Christine M. Arguello sentenced Briceno-Quijano on July 14, 2022. In addition to 14 years in prison, he will serve a term of five years of supervised release.

“This defendant was a ring-leader in a major drug trafficking operation, impacting a small community in Colorado,” said U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan. “This was a lengthy prosecution that involved 13 defendants. This significant sentence demonstrates our commitment to work with our law enforcement partners to keep offenders from dealing drugs on our streets.”

“IRS:CI special agents are uniquely trained to trace financial transactions and use this expertise to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations,” said Andy Tsui, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation, Denver Field Office. “Omar Briceno-Quijano’s sentence reflects the seriousness of his crimes and IRS:CI’s commitment to work with our law enforcement partners to stop the flow of drugs into and drug proceeds out of the United States.”

“This sentencing proves that DEA and our law enforcement partners are aggressively committed to disrupting the flow of dangerous drugs into our communities by stopping it at the source, whether here or abroad,” said Brian Besser, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration Denver Field Office. “I applaud our Agents and Task Force officers who were able to stay the course on an extensive investigation and successful prosecution, as well as the U.S. Marshals who ultimately apprehended Briceno-Quijano in Mexico.”

IRS-CI, DEA Rocky Mountain Division-Montrose Post of Duty, the Montrose Police Department, the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office, and the Seventh Judicial District Drug Task Force, and the United States Marshals Service investigated this case. Assistant United States Attorneys Alexander Duncan and Zachary Phillips handled the prosecution.

This prosecution is a result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles high-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten communities throughout the United States. OCDETF uses a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

Case number: 19-cr-00535

Montrose County Lifts Fire Restrictions Effective Immediately

Montrose, COLO.— Sheriff Gene Lillard has removed fire restrictions effective immediately for all of unincorporated Montrose County. The decision was based on fuel moisture measurements in vegetation, predicated weather, and the predicted outlook for wildland fire potential.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to use caution when burning. Please make sure to have water and shovels readily available when burning and always call dispatch at 970-249-9110 before and after burning. 

The decision was made alongside partner agencies including federal lands, weather partners, and surrounding counties in order to avoid confusion when recreating in the region. Please know before you go and visit for information on restrictions in surrounding areas and the latest fire-related information. To learn more about campfire safety, please visit

In early June, the Montrose Board of County Commissioners passed Resolution 43-2022 authorizing the sheriff to implement and lift fire restrictions as needed throughout the year. 

For more information on fire restrictions, please visit


Montrose County Stage 1 Fire Restrictions Start June 15th

Montrose, COLO.—The unincorporated area of Montrose County will be in stage 1 fire restrictions beginning Wednesday, June 15 at 12:01am. High temperatures, worsening dry conditions, and high winds were the deciding factors to take this precautionary measure.

“Fire restrictions have become increasingly common for those of us in the western United States; however, they are important and necessary measures to help keep our public lands and community safe,” said Sheriff Lillard. “As always, the sheriff’s office works closely with federal land management partners and adjoining counties to monitor conditions. In addition to unprecedented winds, hotter than normal temperatures have resulted in worsening dry conditions. As a community, we must all do our part to prevent wildfires including creating defensible space around your residence, following restrictions when camping, and always making sure to drown out campfires (in an approved fire pit). I appreciate the public’s help in taking measures to prevent wildfires in our area.”

In early June, the Montrose Board of County Commissioners passed Resolution 43-2022 authorizing the sheriff to implement fire restrictions in order to limit wildfire danger in Montrose County.

The restrictions apply to the unincorporated county area and do not include the City of Montrose, Town of Olathe, Town of Naturita, and Town of Nucla. The stage 1 fire restrictions do not allow open burning of any kind to include agricultural burning, open campfires, and fireworks. Smoking cigarettes outdoors is not allowed, unless in an enclosed vehicle or building or in a developed recreation site. Campfires in a pre-approved campground, State Park/KOA, or enclosed fire pits are permitted. As a reminder, fireworks on publicly managed lands are prohibited.

Please be advised that penalties for violating the fire ban include: Class-2 petty offense with fines ranging from $100 to $500 depending on the number of offenses.  If a fire causes damage to another individual’s property, additional criminal charges may apply. These fire restrictions will remain in effect until further notice.

For more information on fire restrictions, please visit

Fire Restrictions Stage 1

Stage 1 Fire Restrictions

Simms Fire Community Meeting

PSA: Simms Fire Community Meeting tonight 6 pm. Join the Incident Management Team, Montrose County – GovernmentOuray County Sheriff’s OfficeBureau of Land Management – ColoradoU.S. Forest Service-Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre & Gunnison National Forests and Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control at the Montrose Event Center 1036 N 7th St, Montrose, CO 81401

You can also view and ask questions virtually through the Facebook Live Stream.

Future Simms Fire Mesa Updates on


Special Note: The Rocky Mountain Complex Incident Management Team One assumed command of the fire at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 21, 2022. There will be a community meeting tonight at 6 pm about the Simms Fire. Details are being worked out at this time so please watch Inciweb and Facebook for announcement.

Current Situation:
As a fire gets larger or additional resources are brought in, the fire is broken into geographic areas called Divisions to help focus suppression efforts and to help with supervisory span of control. We will use these terms in our updates to provide specific information about each part of the fire perimeter. Divisions will be shown on the fire maps.

In Division A, on the west side of the fire, firefighters will continue to secure the fireline by mopping up any hotspots near containment lines and will construct handline into Wildcat Canyon. In Division Z, on the east side of the fire, firefighters will continue to secure the fireline by mopping up any hotspots near containment lines and grid the area outside of the fire perimeter to ensure there are no spot fires that could pose a risk when fuels dry out. The Structure Group will continue to mop up and secure around structures.

Safety: All evacuations have been lifted and Government Springs Road is open to through traffic. Wildcat Canyon and T & M Roads leading into the fire area remain closed, and in the interest of public safety, fire officials ask the public to please avoid the area and respect all emergency closures. Firefighter and public safety remain the priorities on this incident.

Weather & Fuel Conditions: Moderated fire weather conditions are likely again today. Although relative humidity has been high most of yesterday and last night, expect afternoon values to bottom out near 20% today and Sunday. Temperatures will begin to slowly warm up but remain below normal for this time of year with highs near 64 degrees. Winds will be WNW at 10-15 mph with gusts to 25 mph.

Evacuations and Fire Restrictions: The evacuation order has been lifted except for the Wildcat Canyon drainage. T&M Road and Wildcat Canyon Road will be open to residents but are still closed to the public. For more information contact,

Simms Fire Statistics:
Size: 373 acres
Containment: 15%
Total Personnel: approximately 220
Location: 15 miles southwest of Montrose
Reported: May 19, 2022
Cause: Under investigation For More Information:
Phone: 970-765-7309
West Slope Fire Information:

052122 9am Update

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