High Country Crime: Former Glenwood arts center director admits felony, vows to repay checks
Christina Brusig, the former Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts executive director, pleaded guilty Monday, April 24, to felony check fraud in Eagle County District Court in exchange for a deferred sentence.
She was charged with check fraud in January after her landlords, an Eagle couple, reported that she had written them about $18,000 in bad checks after going about nine months without paying rent.
Brusig resigned earlier this month from the art center, whose finances came under police investigation a few days later. There’s no indication that Brusig’s bad check charge is related to the art center investigation or her resignation, and Glenwood Police chief Terry Wilson has declined to connect her resignation and his department’s investigation.
Her attorney said Brusig signed the lease to rent the New Castle home with a significant other in 2014. But violence led her to move out the following year, the attorney told the court. The man continued living in the home but did not pay rent, the defender said.
The defense attorney said Brusig, a single mother, was struggling with her finances and made some “poor decisions,” including eluding her landlords and writing eight checks for amounts between $500 and $2,894.
The owners tried to keep the matter out of court, and have been trying to get paid for more than a year, said Sargent. While the landlords were trying to collect the back payments, Brusig sent them text messages that showed a “level of gamesmanship I have not seen before,” Sargent said in court, ranging from claiming the money was in her account to claiming she did not know what could have happened.
In an unrelated matter, Glenwood Springs police continue to examine the art center’s finances, an investigation that began days after Brusig’s resignation on April 5.
When the Post Independent last week sought information about Brusig’s resignation from the art center, city officials and the center board’s acting president referred the PI to Wilson, who, in turn, said he could not divulge any information other than that the art center is under a financial investigation.
Brusig said last week that she knows nothing about the investigation, and resigned from her city-paid job because of overwork and a lack of support from the board.
On Friday, April 28, the Glenwood Springs city government said that it was halting financial support for the arts center, which the day before said that it would shut down in May.
— Ryan Summerlin, Glenwood Springs Post-Indpendent
Craig man wanted on assault, menacing charges, found hiding in attic
Wanted criminal Tanner Sholes was apprehended Wednesday, April 26, after evading law enforcement officials for two weeks.
Hayden Police Department issued a warrant for his arrest April 11 on suspicion of vehicular assault, felony menacing, possession of a weapon by a previous offender, third-degree assault, child abuse, reckless endangerment, criminal mischief, driving under restraint and reckless driving.
Sholes was found hiding in the home of a family member on Moffat County Road 18S Wednesday, according to Moffat County Sheriff KC Hume. The interagency Moffat County Combined Tactical Team, comprised of Moffat County Sheriff’s deputies and Craig Police officers, conducted the arrest.
A sheriff’s deputy spotted him outside the residence. He retreated indoors and refused to come out, prompting officers to obtain a search warrant, Hume said. The premises was fully searched and Sholes was found hiding in the attic.
He is now being held at the Routt County Jail.
Sholes was wanted for an incident that took place the evening of April 11 at a residence in Hayden. According to Routt County Court documents, he threatened a man with a crowbar, attempting to strike him several times.
He then got behind the wheel of a car and made two attempts to hit the man with the car with two young children on board. He hit the man on the second attempt, causing minor injury, and sped away across the grass, driving over a sign in the process. His driver’s license was suspended.
Sholes has been arrested more than 30 times in the past 17 years and has been convicted on charges including criminal mischief, felony trespassing, harassment and disorderly conduct.
— Lauren Blair, Craig Daily Press
Carbondale robbery suspect charged in Las Vegas homicide
Benjamin Weeks, the 19-year-old arrested after a February robbery in Carbondale and subsequent manhunt, has been charged with first-degree murder in an earlier Las Vegas case.
Weeks, who is from California, is in custody at the Garfield County jail, and authorities are working out the details for extradition.
Weeks and his cousin, Nicholas Ameral, were arrested in February after police say they robbed a Carbondale convenience store at gunpoint and, days later, leapt from a Roaring Fork Transportation Authority bus and led police on a two-day manhunt in the hills above Basalt. The two were apprehended with exposure-related injuries, having spent a night in the elements.
About a week after the pair’s arrest, detectives from Las Vegas Metro Police Department came to Garfield County to conduct interviews for a homicide investigation, according to a Carbondale Police Department press release.
Then on April 18, the Las Vegas detectives got a warrant for Weeks’ arrest, charging first-degree murder with no bond.
— Glenwood Springs Post-Independent staff report
Feds arrest Aspen men in drug trafficking sweep
Federal drug agents arrested an Aspen man at the Hunter Creek Apartments last week as part of an effort to take down a major Mexican drug-trafficking operation, according to sources and court documents.
Oscar Mora-Campos, 43, was one of two Aspen residents and one New Castle resident arrested April 20 for allegedly being part of a multimillion-dollar operation that transported large quantities of cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico to Colorado via California, according to federal court documents and a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver.
Those three men plus 14 others were indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver after a one-year investigation that found the drugs were distributed out of the El Rancho Market in Aurora, according to the documents. The leader of the operation in Aurora allegedly made more than $3 million in deposits between 2013 and 2016, while another man allegedly made more than $600,000 in cash deposits during the same period, the documents state.
Mora-Campos was arrested April 20 at Hunter Creek without incident, said Aspen Police Detective Ritchie Zah, who assisted in the arrest. Mora-Campos was not known to Aspen police and it was not clear Thursday his exact role in the drug-trafficking operation, according to Zah and a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver.
Jose Chica-Orellana, who is either 37 or 38, also was listed in court documents as an Aspen resident. Chica-Orellana — who also is known as Adrian Flores — was arrested March 30 in Las Vegas, according to court documents. Zah said he did not know that name either.
New Castle resident, Edurado Jimenez-Sanchez, 37, was one of two men arrested April 20 in Breckenridge, according to court documents.
Nine of the defendants indicted were arrested April 20, while Chica-Orellana was already in custody. The remaining seven — three of whom are not named in the indictment — are fugitives, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office statement.
Mora-Campos, Chica-Orellana and Jimenez-Sanchez all face up to life in prison and have pleaded not guilty.
The leader of the trafficking operation, Jose Tapia-Rubio, 58, allegedly owned the El Rancho Market in Aurora. Confidential informants allegedly bought $1,000 ounces of cocaine and $500 ounces of methamphetamine at both the market and Tapia-Rubio’s home, according to the statement.
— Jason Auslander, The Aspen Times
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