In collaboration with the Eagle Valley High School's DADD (Devils Against Drinking and Drugs) Club, the Eagle County Sheriff's Office will host its first 420 Drug Free Rally on Friday, April 20 at Freedom Park in Edwards.
April 20 (420) has become a day to celebrate and smoke marijuana in defiance of the law and authorities with "420" serving as a code word used to mean "Let's go get high." For many in the counterculture, 420 represents April 20, or the "National Pot Smoking Day." Many Coloradans believe 420 sends out the wrong message to our youth by glorifying drug abuse. Others view this as insensitive and a dishonor of the Columbine High School tragedy, which also occurred on April 20.
In order to take a stand against the "National Pot Smoking Day" and to promote healthy and safe teen choices, different counties throughout Colorado are hosting rallies or events on or around April 20, with the emphasis on a drug-free message. The purpose is to celebrate teenagers and the fact that the majority of them make good decisions and do not use or intend to use drugs, as indicated by survey results below.
• 91.6 percent of local middle school students have never tried marijuana.
• 60.9 percent of local high school students have never tried marijuana.
• 39.1 percent of local high school students have tried marijuana.
• 71 percent of local 12th grade students saw no risk or a slight risk in harming themselves by trying marijuana.
• 69 percent of middle school students saw a moderate or great risk in harming themselves by trying marijuana.
This event will be celebrated on a local level with a free community barbecue, open pick-up games, such as soccer, basketball, volleyball, and rock climbing, along with a giant bonfire with s'mores and an outdoor movie. This event will begin at 4:20 p.m. with our National Guard helicopter landing.
These events are intended to:
• Counter the perception that the majority of our teenagers use drugs, and send a message that drug-free is the social norm.
• Emphasize health and safety and a day to celebrate our youth,
• Remember the Columbine tragedy with the emphasis on health and safety for our teenagers.
• Send a prevention message from our teenagers.
Speeding with open cans
A deputy stopped a car for speeding on Interstate 70 near Eagle-Vail on April 8 and discovered open alcohol containers in the vehicle when he contacted the 20-year-old driver.
The two passengers had been drinking and one was under age. The driver insisted he had not been drinking and volunteered to take roadside sobriety tests.
A background check on the driver revealed him to be a known gang member with an extensive criminal history. Since he volunteered to take voluntary roadside tests, the deputy asked him out of the car for further questioning.
The man said he was going back to Glenwood Springs after spending the day in Denver trying to sell a set of car rims and tires. Deputies asked to search the car and he gave permission.
In the trunk, under the rims and tires, the officers found a backpack containing approximately three ounces of marijuana. The 19-year-old passenger said it was his. He was cited for illegal possession and consumption of alcohol, and possession of two ounces or less of marijuana.
The driver was cited for speeding and having open containers of alcohol in the vehicle.
A deputy's suspicions were aroused in Gypsum April 6, when he saw a car turn off of Gun Club Road onto I-70 late at night.
The Shooting Sports Park is the only thing accessed by the road and the park was closed.
The officer followed the car on I-70 and watched it weave in its lane. He stopped the car after it slowed down to 30 mph in a 75 mph zone.
As he approached the vehicle, the 25-year-old female passenger was fidgeting and appeared to be hiding things under the seat.
The 56-year-old driver said they were going home to Aspen from Denver and the woman had to urinate. He admitted to drinking a glass of wine earlier that evening but said he was sober. The deputy asked him out of the car for voluntary roadside tests.
Meanwhile, the woman grew increasingly nervous and had to be told several times to stay in the car.
The man did not complete the tests to the officer's satisfaction. He refused to take a breath test with a portable Intoxilyzer and was arrested for further investigation of driving under the influence of alcohol.
The deputy went back to talk with the woman about finding a ride home and saw a white, powdery rock on the seat between her legs as she fumbled with items in her hands. The officer asked her if that was cocaine and told her to get out of the car.
The woman said it wasn't. She leaned back into the car and started sweeping the substance out of the car. The deputy told her to stop but she wouldn't, so he pulled her back out of the car.
The woman turned and hit the officer in the chest with her fist. She continued to wrestle and kick as deputies took her to the ground and handcuffed her. The officers ended up with abrasions and one had a shoulder injury that was later treated at the emergency room.
The woman went to jail for assault on a peace officer, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, tampering with physical evidence and resisting arrest.
The man was booked for unlawful possession of a controlled substance, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or both and failure to drive in a designated lane.
On April 10, the Eagle County Sheriff's Office arrested Tyler James Stripp, age 22 from Vail. Stripp sold cocaine to an undercover sheriff's detective in West Vail. During a search of Stripp, after his arrest, five illegal (non-prescribed) Oxycodone pills were recovered from his wallet.
Information obtained during Stipp's arrest lead detectives to Katherine Elizabeth Fontanese (age 21, from Lakewood). Fontanese sold a bottle of illegal (non-prescribed) Oxycodone pills to an undercover Sheriff's Detective at a residence in Edwards.
Stripp and Fontanese were booked into the Eagle County Detention Facility. Both individuals were charged with felony Distribution and Possession of Controlled Substances. They are both being held on $50,000 bonds.
Tips on illegal drug activity from concerned citizens are vital to Eagle County Drug Task Force operations. The Eagle County Sheriff's Office will continue to investigate this incident.
If you think you may have any information about the suspects or this crime, please call the Eagle County Sheriff's Office at (970) 328-8500 or Eagle County Crime Stoppers at (970) 328-7007, 1-800-972-TIPS, submit your tip online at www.tipsubmit.com, or text a tip from your cell phone by texting STOPCRIME plus your message to CRIMES (274637). If your tip leads to the arrest and indictment of any suspect involved, you could earn up to a $1,000 reward from the Crime Stoppers.
• A bicycle was damaged on April 11 while it was locked to a rack near a bus stop shelter in Beaver Creek. The owner said he chased off two men trying to steal the bike from the same rack on March 5. The damage to the bike and lock was estimated at $375.