RIFLE — A total of 11 suspects have been arrested and jailed in connection with a drug bust that involved two homes in the city of Rifle in the early morning hours of Sept. 9, according to authorities.
Two more suspects were said to remain at large as of Tuesday afternoon, according to Rifle Police Chief John Dyer, who is the current chairman of the board for the Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team (TRIDENT), which has claimed overall responsibility for a four-month undercover operation that led to the bust.
To date, according to records on the Garfield County Jail website, those in custody include:
• Debra J. Black, 52, who is being held in lieu of a $40,000 bond on charges of possession of amphetamines,
• Darrell H. Cross, 47, also arrested on a charge of possession of a controlled substance, who is being held on a bond of $2,500,
• Gilbert R. Cuevas, 36, $40,000 bond, on charges of possession, conspiracy to distribute, possession of illegal drugs with intent to distribute, and child abuse resulting from negligence,
• Dawn A. Franklin, 33, $5,000 bond, on charges of possession and sale of amphetamines,
• David Jaramillo, 34, $5,000 bond, on charges of possession and distribution of drugs,
• Scott A. Martin, 37, $10,000 bond, on charges of possession, manufacture or sale of controlled substances,
• Brett Montgomery, 18, $5,000 bond, on charges of possession, manufacture or sale of controlled substances,
• Karma A. Montgomery, 40, $5,000 bond, on charges of possession, manufacture or sale of controlled substances,
• Randy B, Murray, 57, $5,000 bond, on a charge of possession of drugs,
• Michael A. Newton, 44, $3,750 bond, possession,
• Cody A. Smith, 23, $25,750 bond, charges of carrying a concealed weapon, possession and conspiracy to possess.
According to statements from the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office and the Rifle Police Department, the busts began at about 4 a.m. on Monday, when agents from TRIDENT, as well as officers from other agencies, served two search warrants at the homes, the addresses of which were not released.
The busts were the result of a TRIDENT investigation that started in May, when undercover agents began buying methamphetamine from sources in Rifle.
Over the ensuing four months, according to the statement, TRIDENT agents conducted 17 purchases, resulting in the accumulation of 117 grams of meth and 1.4 grams of hashish, a concentrated form of marijuana.
A total of 13 arrest warrants were issued, leading to the arrests of eight suspects on Monday, along with contacts from three others who said they would turn themselves in to authorities, and a continuing search for two remaining suspects.
TRIDENT reported that two “additional arrests were made as a result of the search warrants.”
Officials with TRIDENT and the Rifle Police Department declined to release the names of those arrested, saying they were concerned about the identities and safety of agents who work undercover in the drug culture.
“We have decided that the task force itself will not be putting out names or photographs of those arrested by the Team,” Dyer stated in an email to the Post Independent, calling it an “operational decision” by the leaders of the TRIDENT task force.
According to authorities, the suspects have a “combined past record of over 70 non-drug related arrests and charges, ranging from DUI, burglary, assaults, weapons charges and sex assaults.”
TRIDENT is a multi-jurisdictional task force funded through federal, state and local sources.