Crime Briefs Four arrested in Rifle with 120 pounds of pot |

Crime Briefs Four arrested in Rifle with 120 pounds of pot

Ryan Summerlin

The regional drug task force arrested four men found with about 120 pounds of marijuana on Wednesday in Rifle. A couple of the men said they were working at a grow site somewhere in the mountains.

A Rifle police officer on patrol spotted an SUV without working brake lights that evening. “As soon as [the officer] stepped out of his patrol car he could smell the overwhelming, nauseating smell of marijuana,” according to an arrest report. He found the SUV’s cargo area was full of large trash bags.

Rifle police informed Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team about the stop, reporting that they “could see marijuana on the parties in the vehicle and buds of marijuana on the floor of the vehicle.” Four men in the SUV were arrested. Upon searching the vehicle, officers found seven large bags full of marijuana.

Officers noted that the driver was well dressed and clean, while the other three men were “disheveled and unkempt” and appeared to have been working.

The driver and one passenger refused to talk to investigators. But the other two told investigators that they had been working at a grow somewhere in the nearby mountains. They said they were hired in California, but they did not know whom they were working for.

One of the men told investigators that he had been in the area for only four or five days. But he could not identify where the grow was, as he was taken to and from the site in the dark. He estimated the grow was about 30 minutes to an hour out of town, but he didn’t know in what direction. “Today he was told to bring everything off the mountain and get in the car. [He] did not know who the boss was or where they were going,” according to an affidavit.

During questioning, the other man “kept rubbing his thumbs together during the entirety of the interview and broke down almost crying at times out of fear,” a TRIDENT officer reported. He said that he’d been promised to make $250 per day, and “had been told that he was going to come here and plant trees where a fire had burned through.”

He said the driver was not working with them at the grow, that he only picked them up that day. “They had told him that if he talked they would kill him and his family,” though he couldn’t say who “they” were, according to a TRIDENT report.

TRIDENT officers believed that two of the men were “involved in intent to distribute” the marijuana, while the other two were only involved in its cultivation.

The two who refused to speak with investigators, which included the driver, were arrested on charges of possession with intent to distribute more than 50 pounds of marijuana, a Class 1 drug felony. The passenger was also arrested on felony cultivation of more than 30 marijuana plants.

The two who spoke to investigators were arrested on felony cultivation of more than 30 marijuana plants.

Quezada-Cruz charged with vehicular assault

This week the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office filed formal charges against Louis Quezada-Cruz, a 30-year-old man accused of fleeing the scene of a head-on collision in West Glenwood.

Quezada-Cruz is facing two felony counts of leaving the scene of an accident and two felony counts of vehicular assault.

The July wreck sent a young couple visiting from North Carolina to the hospital with serious injuries, but police could not find the driver of the other vehicle at the scene. Video surveillance shows a man fleeing the wreck, according to police.

Quezada-Cruz’s neighbors at Robin Hood Mobile Home Park, near the wreck, also reported a truck revving up its engine, “peeling out and driving erratically” right before the crash. Several neighbors identified the driver as Quezada-Cruz, and officers found the truck tires had most of the rubber spun off. Officers later learned that Quezada-Cruz had been “deported numerous times for various other crimes committed including driving under the influence of alcohol,” according to his warrant.

In early September, authorities in Imperial, Nebraska, found and arrested the 30-year-old suspect.

He will next be in district court on Oct. 19.

46-year-old man head-butts minor

Rifle police responded to reports of a head-butting at the skate park behind the police department the afternoon of Sept. 29.

A 46-year-old man had reportedly head-butted a 16-year-old boy at that location.

The minor had allegedly punched another boy. When the grown man heard about it, he went and head-butted the 16-year-old in the face, according to a police report. Four witnesses attested to the man head-butting the boy.

At the police department, officers found a small bag of white powdery substance in the man’s pocket that tested positive for methamphetamine, according to the report. The substance weighed one-tenth of a gram.

He was arrested on felony possession of a controlled substance and misdemeanor third-degree assault.

Felon found with firearm

A 49-year-old man with five separate felony convictions was arrested in Parachute after witnesses said they saw him with a hunting rifle in a confrontation outside his apartment complex.

It was actually the 49-year-old man himself who initially called police, saying that he was being harassed by a group of people. He said that some people in a gray Buick had threatened him, and one of them had a gun in his waistband, according to police.

But witnesses to the confrontation told officers they saw him with the hunting rifle slung over his back. At first officers found that he had an active protection order barring him from possessing such a weapon. Then the police eventually found that he had felony convictions for delivery/manufacture of a controlled substance, first-degree retail fraud, another delivery/manufacture of a controlled substance, malicious destruction of personal property and failure to pay child support. He was, therefore, barred from possessing a firearm.

He was arrested on felony weapons possession by a previous offender and misdemeanor protection order violation.

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