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Cops seize pound of cocaine

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. A Glenwood Springs man and his wife were arrested early Monday morning, and a pound of cocaine was seized from their residence at the H Lazy F Trailer Park at 5387 County Road 154 in Glenwood Springs.Carmelo Meraz-Godinez, 53, was arrested by the Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team (TRIDENT) after they received information that he was distributing cocaine in the Glenwood Springs area.”(TRIDENT) seized a pound of cocaine, worth $10,000 to $12,000, and about $7,500 in cash,” said Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario. “We usually see ounces, so that was a good amount.”TRIDENT purchased a total of 38.95 grams of cocaine from Meraz-Godinez on three separate occasions over a two-month investigation. TRIDENT was then able to obtain an arrest warrant and a search warrant of his residence, which was executed at about 4 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 20, with the assistance of the Garfield County All Hazards Response Team.Officers recovered a total of more than 431 grams of cocaine that was packaged for distribution, along with nearly 400 grams of a suspected cutting agent, used to dilute the drug. TRIDENT also found more than $7,000 of suspected drug proceeds.Meraz-Godinez was charged with four counts of possession of a controlled substance Schedule II; four counts of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance Schedule II; and distribution of a controlled substance Schedule II.His wife, Ofelia Meraz, was also arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance Schedule II and possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance.Distribution and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance are Class 3 felonies, each carrying a range of 4-12 years in prison and a $3,000 to $750,000 fine. Possession of a Schedule II controlled substance is a class 4 felony with a range of 2-6 years in prison and a $2,000 to $500,000 fine.According to Vallario, law enforcement officials are seeing more cocaine crimes in the upper valley as opposed to methamphetamine found more commonly in the downvalley area.Still, the amount of cocaine being distributed around the valley is no more than what statistics show around the country.”It’s no better and no worse than anywhere else,” Vallario said.A series of valleywide drug raids were also made in late September, which led to the arrest of six suspected cocaine dealers and the seizure of $14,000 worth of cocaine and $64,000 in cash.But are the busts eliminating drug activity in the valley?”I look at it as any other crime,” Vallario said. “We’re not going to eliminate it and maybe we’re not gaining ground, but we’re not going to let it wash over us, either.Anyone with information about drug trafficking in the area is encouraged to call TRIDENT at (970) 945-0744.Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO


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