Suspected drug dealers released for unfiled paperwork arrested on federal charges | PostIndependent.com

Suspected drug dealers released for unfiled paperwork arrested on federal charges

Suspected drug dealers released from jail due to unfiled paperwork were picked up days later on federal charges for the same alleged crime, according to court records.

The three men suspected of transporting 29 pounds of methamphetamine to Glenwood Springs have been in federal custody since getting arrested by U.S. Marshalls on Nov. 22, several days after a Garfield County judge granted them personal recognizance bonds because they had been held more than 48 hours before probable cause documents were filed.

Francisco Alejandro-Escobar, 21, Christopher Paredes-Moreno, 21, and Jose Santos Trochez-Sanchez, 27, have all been charged in federal court with possessing dangerous drugs with intent to distribute.

The three were arrested by local law enforcement agencies on Nov. 15, and held over the weekend in Garfield County Jail. They were released Nov. 18, and were out of custody for several days before arrest on the federal charges.

The probable cause document, also known as an affidavit for warrantless arrest, was not filed due to a miscommunication, according to law enforcement officials.

“The warrant was done the day of the arrest, it was just human (error) because one person thought the other person was filing the warrant,” said Steven Knight, the agent in charge at Grand Junction’s DEA office.

The paperwork was “filed on Monday morning [Nov. 18] when the error was discovered,” Knight said.

Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario said that in his entire career, he has never seen a case where probable cause paperwork wasn’t filed with the court in time.

“This was an error, and it was discussed and corrected. I’m sure it won’t happen again,” Vallario said.

The judge granted personal recognizance bonds because the paperwork was not filed or reviewed by the court within 48 hours of arrest, which his a legal precedent.

The federal probable cause document did not reveal many new details about the operation, which is now complete.

According to federal and state court records, the Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team (TRIDENT), worked with the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Glenwood Springs post and the Gore Range Narcotics Interdiction Team to communicate with the alleged drug dealers.

TRIDENT agents communicated with a man in Mexico and agreed to purchase 2 pounds of methamphetamine, and sent a wire transfer of $1,500.

After further communication, the agents agreed to purchase 30 pounds for a total of $75,000, to be paid on delivery.

When the undercover officers suspected that both cars were connected, they requested the State Patrol to conduct traffic stops on Interstate 70, according to the court records.

In the trunk of one car where the spare tire should have been, a trooper located a black duffle back with 28 plastic bags containing a crystalline substance that later tested positive for methamphetamine, the affidavit said.

A trained drug-sniffing dog detected the presence of narcotics on the other car, but nothing was found in that vehicle.

tphippen@postindependent.com


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