Garfield County Crime Briefs: Vegas wedding story, pot, FBI warrant lead to arrests
November 9, 2018
On Nov. 4, a trooper with Colorado State Patrol pulled over a black pickup truck for driving in the passing lane where prohibited on Interstate 70 just east of West Rifle Exit 87.
Upon approaching the vehicle, the front seat passenger had rolled down his window and was shaking uncontrollably as he searched frantically for paperwork for the pickup stating it belonged to him. The driver and other passenger sitting behind him did not speak or look at the trooper, according to an arrest affidavit.
The front seat passenger presented an Illinois driver's license and the driver, who stated he had left his somewhere, provided his name and date of birth.
Both were cleared, however Illinois reported the license plate belonged to a Dodge Ram pickup and not a Chevrolet Silverado. When confronted about it, the driver, "stated the pickup belonged to his girlfriend, who worked at a car dealership."
According to the affidavit, after further questioning, the trooper received varying accounts from the driver and two passengers.
The front seat passenger told the trooper they attended a wedding the previous night at the Planet Hollywood Hotel and had stayed with family in Las Vegas.
Recommended Stories For You
When the trooper asked the backseat passenger if he had any identification, he stated no, and when questioned as to, "why he would travel across the country to Las Vegas and not bring any identification with him, he just stated he didn't have it."
The driver of the vehicle told the trooper they were returning from Riverside, California where they had lodged at a Motel 6 and that they had just been visiting family. When asked about Las Vegas, the driver stated they went there, too, because they had never been, and said it was only for a few hours and made no mention of a wedding.
Although the driver presented his name and date of birth, because he could not produce any physical identification, he took an electronic fingerprint identification test, which identified him as a different person than he originally said.
After learning the driver's real name, the trooper also learned he had an FBI record, which warned of him possibly being armed and dangerous as well as having a nationwide felony warrant out for his arrest.
At that time, the driver was placed under arrest.
Given this, along with conflicting stories coupled with the passenger's, "uncontrollable shaking when he was sitting in the vehicle, along with a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle and a marijuana plant in a cup holder," the trooper to called for a K9.
The front seat passenger did not consent to the vehicle being searched but was later alerted by the trooper they would conduct a probable cause search utilizing the K9.
"The dog did indicate to the odor of narcotics coming from the driver's rear door area of the pickup, near where the cab meets the truck bed."
After opening the rear driver's side door the trooper noticed and opened a black duffel bag, which contained five large bags of marijuana as well as a small digital scale in another backpack.
After further questioning, the backseat passenger gave his name and was also placed under arrest.
The truck was impounded and the front-seat passenger received a courtesy ride in to Rifle.
The back-seat passenger was placed under arrest for possession of the approximate. five pounds of marijuana.
The driver was also placed under arrest and charged with the following: Drove in passing lane when prohibited, drove vehicle without a valid license, open marijuana container in a motor vehicle, and criminal impersonation.
Wanted male arrested in Denver
An individual with active felony arrest warrants out of both Garfield and Eagle County in connection with "dangerous drugs, vehicle theft and possession of stolen firearms," and related to a larger drug bust near Rifle late last month, was apprehended Thursday in Denver, according to Garfield County Sheriff's PIO Walter Stowe.
The Sheriff's Office Threat Assessment Group (TAG) had sent out a bulletin last weekend asking the public to be on the lookout for Samual Vancott Fightlin, who is now in custody.
No additional information was available for this report.