Thirteen defendants indicted by a federal grand jury

DENVER – Following a year-long investigation, thirteen Montrose residents were indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver and charged with the drug distribution crimes. State officers, county sheriff deputies and the DEA then arrested eleven of the indicted individuals. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Jason R. Dunn, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Deanne Reuter, Montrose County Sheriff Gene Lillard and Montrose Police Chief Blaine Hall. The arrested defendants were transported to Grand Junction, where they are making their initial appearances before a U.S. Magistrate Judge. At that appearance they will be advised of their rights and the charges pending against them.

According to the indictment, from January 1, 2019 through December 18, 2019, the thirteen defendants, named below, conspired with each other and others known and unknown to the grand jury to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of actual methamphetamine, 500 grams or more of a mixture of a substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine, and less than 100 grams of heroin. If convicted, each defendant faces a minimum of 10 years, and up to life in federal prison.

Those indicted include:

· Omar Briceno-Quijano, age 29 FUGITIVE

· Ofelia Lopez, age 49

· Luis Alberto Ibarra-Tadeo, age 26

· Romeo Lujan, age 28 FUGITIVE

· Angelina Maestas, age 32

· Joseph Davis, age 26

· Naomi Vaughn, age 35

· Jonte LeFlore, age 34

· Dustin Debarris, age 31

· Steven Keith Jones, age 33

· Frank Arroyo, age 44

· Amanda Lee Sumpter, age 49

· Nicole Wickman, age 36

In addition to the conspiracy charges, the defendants face individual counts for the distribution of methamphetamine and heroin. Multiple defendants also face charges of using a communication device, a phone, to facilitate their drug trafficking.

“Montrose law enforcement, working with the DEA, has done an outstanding job identifying those who are trafficking methamphetamine and heroin to members of their community,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn. “It is a high priority of this office to support our rural communities facing large scale drug problems.”

“The DEA recognized the increased availability of methamphetamine in the Montrose area two years ago. We worked closely with the Montrose Police Department, the Montrose Sheriff’s Office and the Seventh Judicial Drug Task Force to target alleged distributors that were identified in the area,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge of the Denver Division Deanne Reuter. “The success of this operation is the result of the strong partnership formed between law enforcement agencies, where all involved are deeply committed to working together to protecting the citizens of Montrose and the surrounding area from scourge of methamphetamine.”

“On behalf of the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office, I would like to commend the DEA for its leadership and assistance with this operation,” said Montrose County Sheriff Gene Lillard. “The amount of drug trafficking that we are experiencing in the County of Montrose has been on the increase over the last decade. The Montrose County Sheriff’s Office has been working and will continue to work proactively to combat the drug issues that are affecting the city and county of Montrose. We are working side by side and will continue to work with the DEA, Montrose Police Department, 7th Judicial Drug Task Force, U.S. Marshal’s Office, ATF, Colorado State Patrol and other state and local agencies. The drug problem in the County of Montrose is directly related to our crime rate of burglaries, thefts, scams and even domestic violence that we deal with on a daily basis. This operation has been a long time coming and we hope to see a ripple effect in the future to stop those who want to be drug dealers in Montrose County.”

“These arrests should communicate that our community suffers from a major drug trafficking issue, and these arrests are critical in keeping our community safe,” said Montrose Police Chief Blaine Hall. “The disruption, apprehension, and prosecution of these offenders is a high priority for the Montrose Police Department, and we value the partnership we have with the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The addition of the DEA gives the City of Montrose new tools to investigate suspected offenders committing drug crimes in our community. I’d like to commend and thank the current 7th Judicial Drug Task Force members, DEA, and the multiple other federal, state, and local agencies for their steadfast work in this multifaceted investigation. Their efforts will have long-term payoffs for our community in the realm of public safety and crime reduction.”

This investigation was conducted by the Denver Division of the DEA, the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office, and the Montrose Police Department, as well as representatives from the 7th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

The charges contained in the indictment are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

MCSO to Test the Emergency Notification System

Montrose County Sheriffs Office

Montrose, COLO.—Montrose County Sheriff’s Office will be conducting a countywide test of the emergency notifications system on Wednesday, Dec., 18 at 2:00 pm. THIS IS ONLY A TEST and measures the number of residents reach in an emergency. All traditional landline phones, registered cell phones and Voice over IP (Spectrum/Elevate Internet based) phones will receive a call to validate telephone numbers in the CodeRED Emergency Notification System database for each county.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • There is no need to take action if you receive the call. Emergency Management and WestCO Regional Dispatch Center are testing the system to ensure its capabilities and to encourage additional residents to enroll to receive future notifications.
  • This process helps us continually improve the system. Testing increases the efficiency of the system and speed at which notifications will be delivered during an actual emergency.
  • If you have not signed up, please take a few minutes to register your phone number(s), email(s), as well as home and work addresses. The process is free, and only takes a few minutes.

In the event of an emergency, dispatch or emergency management can use the emergency notification system 24-hours a day to send an emergency alert to residents and business owners within an area defined by first responders. If you live or work within the boundaries of the alert area, the system has the ability to call, text, and email an emergency alert to you and your family that tells you the specifics of the emergency and gives instructions on what to do to stay safe.

To ensure everyone in your family receives emergency alerts at home and work, please register all phone numbers, emails, as well as your home and work addresses with system.  You can also download the CodeRED App from the Google Play and Apple App store. The app allows you to create an account and receive alerts within a specified range of your location so if you are traveling through an area with an active emergency, such as a wildfire, you will receive the alert on your phone.

To register, follow these steps:

  1. Sign up via Text Message: You can also text “WestRegionENS” to 99411 to register your cell phone. Follow the prompts on your phone.
  2. Create an Account Online:Any resident in Montrose County can register at: https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/BF7ED953CC69

Having current contact information in our database ensures you and your loved ones will be notified in the event of an emergency near your home and/or place of work.  If you have moved and wish to remove your contact information from the emergency notification system, you can visit OnSolve.com and scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and click on the “CodeRED Opt Out” link.  You may also call 866-939-0911 to remove your information from the system.

MCSO Reports Significant Increase in Mail and Package Theft

Montrose County Sheriffs Office

Montrose, COLO.—The Montrose County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) would like to urge residents to be aware of a significant increase of mail and package theft. The MCSO has received several reports of mail and package theft from the Olathe area to Government Springs Road, and investigators believe there may be more homes affected. The MCSO is utilizing a bait package to assist in efforts, and so far have been successful in apprehending individuals through this GPS-enabled device.

“Unfortunately this sort of theft occurs every year and we are ramping up efforts to let the thieves know this won’t be tolerated in Montrose County,” said Lieutenant Ted Valerio. “We are asking for the public’s assistance in working to prevent mail and package theft by reporting any suspicious activity around mailboxes and paying attention to scheduled deliveries.”

While the vast majority of mail arrives intact, thieves persist in their efforts to steal it and are specifically targeting holiday gifts being sent via mail and package delivery service. Here are some tips to help protect your mail from thieves:

• Use the letter slots inside your Post Office for your mail, hand it to a letter carrier, or deliver it to one of the local U.S. Post Offices.
• Pick up your mail promptly after delivery. Don’t leave it in your mailbox overnight. If you’re expecting checks, credit cards, or other negotiable items, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to pick up your mail.
• If you don’t receive a check or other valuable mail you’re expecting, contact the issuing agency immediately.
• If you change your address, immediately notify your Post Office and anyone with whom you do business via the mail.
• Keep your mailbox in good repair and make sure it’s properly installed.
• Consider getting a locking mailbox. Ask your local postmaster for the most up-to-date regulations on mailboxes.
• Don’t send cash in the mail.
• Tell your Post Office when you’ll be out of town, so they can hold your mail until you return.
• Report all suspected mail theft to a Postal Inspector. Consult with your local Postmaster for the most up-to-date regulations on mailboxes, including the availability of locked centralized or curbside mailboxes.

If you see a mail theft in progress, please call 9-1-1 immediately. If you believe your mail was stolen, please contact WestCO Regional Dispatch Center at 970-249-9111, then contact the U.S. Postal Inspector at 1-877-876-2455 or report a crime online at https://www.uspis.gov/report.