High Country Crime: Aspen sewer evidence leads to felony charges
August 20, 2017
Aspen Police Officer Dan Davis knew the drill.
It was late February and he'd just caught a 22-year-old local man and a juvenile in a locked bathroom at Rio Grande Park with the smell of freshly burnt marijuana hanging in the air. The local man, Eduardo Alvarado, told Davis they were "chilling," denied having any drugs on him and allowed the officer to search him, according to documents filed in Pitkin County District Court.
"I was pretty certain that any drugs that had been in his possession had been dropped into the toilet and flushed prior to our entry," Davis wrote in an affidavit he filed with the court in March. "I did not find any drugs on Alvarado and told him he was free to leave."
However, a city of Aspen parks employee later retrieved a black container with marijuana inside along with two cans of beer from the "fecal waste collector" directly beneath the men's bathroom, the affidavit states. A sticker on the marijuana container indicated it had been bought that morning at a local dispensary.
The 16-year-old boy also admitted they had been smoking marijuana and told Davis that Alvarado had bought it, given it to him and later dropped it into the toilet when officers appeared outside the locked bathroom door.
Based on the sticker on the marijuana container, an Aspen detective was able to obtain video of Alvarado purchasing the marijuana wearing the same clothing he wore when caught in the bathroom that night, the affidavit states.
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Alvarado was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and dispensing marijuana to a minor, both felonies, in an arrest warrant signed by a District Court judge in March. He was advised of the charges Monday after he was recently arrested in Garfield County.
—Jason Auslander, The Aspen Times
Semi driver avoiding Glenwood Springs bridge traffic busted on Independence Pass
A semi-truck driver learned Wednesday, Aug. 16, that navigating over Independence Pass might save time, but it also will cost money.
Pitkin County Sheriff's deputies cited driver Louis Zacarias Perez, 36, at approximately 9:55 a.m. near the Lost Man area of the scenic stretch of Highway 82.
Perez was slapped with a $1,000 fine because he was driving a vehicle longer than 35 feet, said Deputy Jesse Steindler, a patrol supervisor for the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office.
The driver told authorities he used the pass to avoid the traffic delays spawned by the Glenwood Springs bridge construction work.
The Colorado Department of Transportation's big-rig warning signs on the Pitkin County side of the pass didn't deter him, Steindler said.
"This was egregious," he said. "There are CDOT signs warning anything above 35 feet."
Deputies sent the driver on his way after he was ticketed, Steindler said. Driving for Silver Trucking LLC, Zacarias Perez was eastbound toward Twin Lakes, and it would have made no sense to reroute him toward Aspen, Steindler said.
"As far as I'm concerned, the worst places are on this side (the Aspen side) of the pass," he said. "In other words, he had already passed the really bad spots and he was within 4 to 6 miles from the top (of the pass)."
Another motorist had tipped off authorities that a semi was near the Grottos area, prompting deputies to respond, Steindler said.
Work on the Glenwood bridge began Monday and is expected to last three months. Independence Pass, a state highway, traditionally closes by Nov. 7 at the latest, but inclement weather can force CDOT to close it earlier.
Wednesday's citation was the first so far related to a big-rig trying to avoid the construction delays by using the pass, Steinder said. It likely won't be the last.
"I think it's going to be a complete cluster," Karin Teague, executive director of the Independence Pass Foundation, told The Aspen Times in May.
"We're anticipating a huge increase in use of the pass."
—Rick Carroll, The Aspen Times
Man steals bike, accidentally sells it to victim's boyfriend, police say
A would-be thief found the tables turned on him when he unwittingly tried to sell a stolen bike to his victim's boyfriend on July 30.
The bicycle was first reported stolen that morning and was said to have been originally purchased two years ago for $3,600. Shortly after the report, a man went to a shop in Breckenridge and asked if anyone would like to buy the bike for $50.
Another man at the store, who turned out to be the victim's boyfriend, asked the man if the bike was stolen. The thief responded that it wasn't and that he had gotten it for free off of the Facebook group One Man's Junk.
The man then asked the thief if he had an ID. He didn't, he said, so he instead showed the man a tattoo of his last name that he had.
The man then bought the bike and called the police.
An officer went to the store and recognized the suspect when the man at the shop showed him a photo he had taken of him.
That evening, the officer found the suspect and arrested him for felony theft, felony possession of burglary tools and criminal mischief.
About a week later, the man was charged with criminal mischief for breaking a window in the jail with his juice cup. Jail staff estimated the window would cost roughly $3,000 to repair.
—Jack Queen, Summit Daily News
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