Kilo-plus seized in Vail cocaine bust, three arrested
VAIL — It was no powder day for three people arrested for allegedly trying to sell 1,190 grams of cocaine locally.
A regional drug task force — the Gore Range Narcotics Interdiction Team — seized cocaine worth more than $119,000. GRANITE is a combined task force from the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office and the Vail Police Department.
Two Denver men, Alan Humber Hernandez Lopez, 28, and Andrew Quach, 28, were arrested and charged with drug distribution, possession and conspiracy. Justine Colton, 25, was arrested earlier this week in Jefferson County for her role in the entire affair. She’s charged with three felonies and for being a “special offender.”
Last March, GRANITE members were working in Vail, investigating cocaine trafficking that had ties to Eagle County. They arrested a Colorado man and seized 5.6 ounces of cocaine — about $1,000 worth — and found 124.99 grams more in the man’s possession.
While discussing with the man and his alleged cocaine co-conspirators about distributing marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD and ketamine in Eagle County, the man told them about Hernandez Lopez, aka Alan Koch — pronounced “coke.” And while the cocaine capitalists didn’t have his phone number memorized, the GRANITE group was told they could find it easily in a cell phone officers had seized from the center console of suspects’ car, according to the arrest affidavit.
Technicians from the Eagle County and Garfield County Sheriff’s offices got busy, searching the phone for Hernandez Lopez’ contact information. It didn’t take long.
Along with the contact information, GRANITE officers found that between Jan. 11 and March 20, 2016, the men had allegedly either purchased or brokered the purchase of 240 grams of cocaine from Hernandez Lopez, the arrest affidavit states.
Investigators contacted Hernandez Lopez and set up a buy. They texted back and forth, and after several exchanges Hernandez Lopez texted “Heading to Vail now. I’ll be in town 11 a.m.”
About the Arrest
The GRANITE group had a briefing at 10:30 a.m., wired their buyer with a transmit/record device, and gave her $3,000 in cash, the arrest affidavit states.
Hernandez Lopez arrived at Vail’s Middle Creek Apartments, their agreed-upon exchange site.
Quach was with Hernandez Lopez, and climbed in the back of Hernandez Lopez’ BMW. That put the GRANITE officer in front, where she saw a large clear plastic baggie containing a white powdery substance on Hernandez Lopez’ lap between his legs.
The officer gave the money to Quach, Hernandez Lopez gave 83 grams of cocaine to her and she got out of the vehicle.
When the two started to drive away, Hernandez Lopez’ car was pretty much the site of an immediate a cop convention.
The GRANITE group found an open duffle bag containing white powder in clear plastic bags in the trunk. According to the affidavit, each bag containing suspected cocaine. A quick test confirmed it as cocaine. Officers also found $1,476 in cash in Hernandez Lopez’ right front pants pocket, and $262.01 on Quach.
They are being held on $50,000 bond.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.