West Slope: ‘Boys’ drug ring broken up, officials say
Glenwood Springs Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Authorities said they arrested 30 people from Rifle to Carbondale in connection with a drug ring known as “The Boys,” describing it as “one of the largest drug organizations in the history of Colorado’s Western Slope.”
Eight suspects remained at large Thursday after an undercover investigation began in the fall and a “roundup” of suspects concluded Wednesday.
According to arrest warrant affidavits, confidential informants and a series of drug purchases by the Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team, also known as TRIDENT, and the Drug Enforcement Administration led to the arrests. “Pre-serialized money” and wireless transmitters were used.
Suspects allegedly sold cocaine, methamphetamines, LSD, ecstasy, hallucinogenic mushrooms and prescription medications. During the investigation, TRIDENT executed four search warrants and seized over 65 pounds of marijuana, nine pounds of cocaine, a pound of methamphetamines, several ounces of hallucinogenic mushrooms and doses of ecstasy and LSD, according to a TRIDENT news release.
Many of the arrests occurred Wednesday and early Thursday.
TRIDENT bought 3.4 grams of cocaine on April 4 from Rico Rodriguez Haywood, 31, from where he lived at 602 Overlin Drive in Glenwood Springs, an affidavit says. TRIDENT purchased 2.1 more grams of cocaine from him on April 10, an affidavit says.
An informant had told authorities a friend purchases cocaine from Haywood up to four times a day and that Haywood had many more customers throughout the valley.
An informant told police Eric Lee Wesseling, 30, has sold methamphetamines in a 501 Williams Street house in Glenwood Springs for a long time.
“It became clear that Wesseling was involved in a possible drug traffic organization that was more convoluted than what was originally stated or believed,” an affidavit states. “This (organization) appeared to have connection to several other TRIDENT cases. Wesseling was stated to be a runner/distributor of methamphetamines for this organization, which included over a half dozen people for whom TRIDENT has written arrest warrants.”
Wesseling told an informant that his source of meth was “The Boys.” TRIDENT said it bought 1.3 grams of meth from Wesseling on Feb. 1 and 3.1 grams on Feb. 6.
A confidential informant told TRIDENT that John Joseph Shertz, 32, would sell him a quarter-ounce of cocaine for $300 from his apartment at 725 1/2 Grand Ave, the affadavit says.
Affidavits say he employed Vaughn Seery in construction and that Seery was unwittingly used in some of the controlled purchases. TRIDENT said it bought 3.7 grams of cocaine from Shertz on April 11.
Affidavits say one confidential informant, who’s receiving concessions from prosecutors, has developed over 20 cases and completed more than 40 drug purchases for TRIDENT.
The news release says TRIDENT began the investigation when it developed leads that an organization called “The Boys” was importing large amounts of cocaine and meth from out of state. It was brought into Glenwood and sold throughout Garfield County.
The Boys had an “intricate system” of distribution organized into levels of dealers with different grades in order to protect higher-level dealers, TRIDENT said.
The grades depended on how much drugs they sold and could be lowered by contact with police, TRIDENT said.
The news release says TRIDENT was particularly concerned that couriers from 14 to 17 years old were used to run drugs like cocaine, ecstasy and hallucinogenic mushrooms. Violence also surrounded the organization, TRIDENT said.
An arrest affidavit says one suspect at one point held a gun to the back of a confidential informant’s head.
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