Multiple arrests made, slew of drugs, weapons seized in TRIDENT investigation |

Multiple arrests made, slew of drugs, weapons seized in TRIDENT investigation

Rich Allen
Rifle Citizen Telegram
Evidence collected by the Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team following seven arrests on Oct. 4.
Garfield County Sheriff’s Office/Courtesy photo

Last week, multiple law enforcement agencies executed search and arrest warrants in the Rifle area as part of an investigation of a drug trafficking organization, the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office states in a release Monday.

The Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team, a multi-agency task force, coordinated with the Drug Enforcement Agency to investigate and execute the seizure of six types of drugs, including nearly 4,000 Xanax bars, which the DEA said was an unprecedented number for the area. Law enforcement also took more than 8 pounds of methamphetamine, 13,500 Fentanyl pills, 73 grams of psilocybin mushrooms, 5 pounds of marijuana and nearly three-quarters of a pound of cocaine.

The seizures also included 12 guns ranging from pistols to semi-automatic rifles and more than $45,000.

“It’s not only the amount of weaponry but the types of weapons that you’re seeing,” Denver Drug Enforcement Agency Public Information Officer Steve Kotecki said. “To me, that’s significant in that it’s not just pistols and hunting rifles and stuff like that. These are serious weapons.”

Kotecki said that drug traffickers “deal in violence,” but catching them with weapons is rare.

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Local officials also noted that while the Interstate 70 corridor is typically a thoroughfare for drug trade from Denver through Utah and California, the narcotics taken in this operation appeared to be set for local sale.

Seven suspects were tied to the investigation ranging from 28 years old to 49.Tyrell T. Portlock and Cody A. Smith were both already in custody, according to the release. Garrett D. Ford had multiple warrants out. Brittany N. Ferpes, Ruben Chavez III, Christopher L. Richter and Brittany J. N. Eccheverria were also arrested in connection with the case.

The charges include firearm offenses, possession of a controlled substance, distribution of a controlled substance and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. According to the release, all charges are felonies.

Agencies involved in the monthslong investigation include the Threat Assessment Group, Garfield County All Hazards Response Team, Homeland Security Investigations, Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, Rifle Police Department, Glenwood Springs Police Department and Parachute Police Department.

Aspects of the investigation are ongoing, the release states.

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