High Country Crime: Meth cook found in Roaring Fork River | SummitDaily.com

High Country Crime: Meth cook found in Roaring Fork River

Summit Daily staff report
news@summitdaily.com

Basalt officials are warning the public to be wary of containers they find in or along the banks of area rivers after police found what are suspected to be cold-cook vessels for methamphetamine.

The Basalt Police Department received a report Wednesday, Jan. 24 of suspicious bottles submerged in the Roaring Fork River beneath what is known as the 7-Eleven Bridge. The police department recruited the Basalt Fire Department for help retrieving the containers.

"It turned out to be 14 bottles consistent with a cold-cook method of making methamphetamine," Assistant Fire Chief Pete Bradshaw said.

Basalt Police Chief Greg Knott said a concerned citizen initially reported the containers to the Roaring Fork Conservancy. The conservancy, which monitors water quantity and quality issues, contacted the police department.

The containers used for cold-cook meth would hold less than a gallon and would be filled with a cloudy liquid and some sort of paper or metal fragments. Anyone who spots such a container should not handle it and should immediately report it to authorities, officials said.

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It doesn't appear that any substances leaked from the containers, officials said. A company has been hired to analyze the contents, Knott said.

"We're assuming they're a byproduct of meth," he said.

In cold-cook meth making, a cold medicine is combined with substances such as ether, lighter fluid and liquid Drano, then shaken for several hours. The resulting compound is extremely volatile.

Knott said it is not known if the containers were placed in the river intentionally or if they were discarded.

"We don't have any suspects or leads at this time," he said.

The containers used for cold-cook meth would hold less than a gallon and would be filled with a cloudy liquid and some sort of paper or metal fragments. Anyone who spots such a container should not handle it and should immediately report it to authorities, officials said.

-Scott Condon, The Aspen Times

Garfield County Jail releases wrong inmate

A Garfield County jail inmate who had been released in error late Monday night, Jan. 22 was re-arrested and returned to jail about six hours later.

On Monday at approximately 11 p.m., Armando Jose Mayo, 19, escaped through a release error by committing identity theft/criminal impersonation, according to a press release from the Garfield County Sheriff's Office.

He was being held on failure to comply/failure to pay charges from Mesa County. On Monday, Mayo had been arrested in Garfield County on a Mesa County felony drug possession case, but ended up being released under a false identity, according to the Sheriff's Office.

He was located at approximately 4:40 a.m. Tuesday, arrested and transported to the Garfield County Jail.

The release states that Mayo will face additional charges stemming from his escape. The jail's inmate list had showed Mayo being held on new charges Tuesday, including felony escape, forgery, felony criminal impersonation and felony theft.

-Glenwood Springs Post-Independent staff report

Stick-up at Vail McDonald's

Police are seeking a man who robbed a fast food restaurant at gunpoint last Sunday morning.

At 6:04 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 21, the man walked into the dining room of the West Vail McDonald's restaurant, 2171 North Frontage Road W. For a minute or two, he stood near the cash register, looking at the menu boards above the counter.

He finally pulled a handgun from his front right jacket pocket and pointed it at the cashier's face, demanding money from the cash register.

Vail Police say the man is a white male, 5-foot-10 to 6 feet tall and weighs approximately 170 pounds.

He was wearing a black jacket with gray patches on the shoulders, camouflage pants, black sneakers and a dark colored hat. The suspect fled on foot and headed west.

Police believe the man is armed with a semi-automatic-style handgun.

Vail Police are advising anyone who comes into contact with the suspect not to approach or interact with him and to call 911 and report his location immediately.

Anyone with information or questions is asked to call Vail Police Detective Sgt. Luke Causey at 970-470-2372 or email lcausey@vailgov.com.

-Randy Wyrick, The Vail Daily

"Jamaican lottery" scammer gets four years

A Virginia Beach woman is on her way to state prison after bilking an 83-year-old Eagle County woman out of tens of thousands of dollars.

Nena Kerny Kochuga, 61, was ordered to repay the money she stole, as well as serve four years in prison and three years parole, District Court Judge Russell Granger ordered during a Monday, Jan. 22, sentencing hearing.

Kochuga admitted she stole the money as part of a supposed "Jamaican lottery" and pleaded guilty to felony theft.

The victim had originally been contacted by another scammer, but eventually was directed to send numerous cashier's checks and money orders to Kochuga over several months in 2016.

According to police reports and court documents, beginning in October 2016, Kochuga contacted the woman as part of a telemarketing scam. Kochuga and a man known as Daniel David Cunningham told the woman she was being given $9 million for winning the Jamaican lottery.

The woman told them that she had not entered any contests or drawings.

Cunningham told the woman that she would have to pay taxes and fees before they could start sending the money. Over the next several months, the woman sent Kochuga and her co-conspirators $20,000.

Along with repaying the Eagle County woman she defrauded, Kochuga will also have to repay the $1,992 it cost the Eagle County Sheriff's Office to haul her from Virginia Beach to Eagle County.

-Randy Wyrick, The Vail Daily