High Country Crime: Pain drugs stolen from ski patrol shack atop Buttermilk | SummitDaily.com

High Country Crime: Pain drugs stolen from ski patrol shack atop Buttermilk

Summit Daily staff report
news@summitdaily.com

Pain-management narcotics were stolen late Saturday or early Sunday from the ski patrol shack atop Buttermilk Ski Area, Sheriff Joe DiSalvo said Monday.

The drugs, which are used by ski patrol to treat people seriously injured on the mountain, were taken from a safe in the shack that was locked when patrollers left Saturday evening, DiSalvo said. He declined to say whether the safe was forced open or if the thief knew the safe combination or had a key.

The building did not appear to show signs of forced entry, the sheriff said.

"It appears (Aspen Skiing Co.) did everything they could to secure these … narcotics," he said.

DiSalvo refused to name the types of drugs or the amounts taken, citing an open investigation into the incident. He also said he did not know how much the drugs were worth.

The incident occurred after patrollers left the shack Saturday evening, he said. A patroller who arrived at the shack Sunday morning reported the theft, DiSalvo said.

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Nothing else was taken in the burglary and the building was not damaged during the break-in, he said.

Jeff Hanle, spokesperson for the Aspen Skiing Co., declined to comment beyond saying that employees were "cooperating and assisting fully" with the Sheriff's Office investigation.

-Jason Auslander, The Aspen Times

Police search and seize black market marijuana operation in Granby

Local law enforcement officials, with assistance from the Colorado Department of Revenue's Marijuana Enforcement Division, are currently in the midst of processing a significant haul of illegal marijuana after executing a pair of search warrants earlier in the week.

On Wednesday, the Middle Park Emergency Response Team, working under the auspices of the Grand County Drug Task Force, executed a pair of search warrants on two private residences in Grand County, one in the Granby Ranch neighborhood and another near Lake Granby. According to local officials, both locations were identified as being "related to the production and illegal distribution of controlled substances."

Granby Police Chief Jim Kraker confirmed the action Thursday afternoon and said that, while several individuals were detained and questioned Wednesday, no arrests had been made and no charges have yet been filed. Officials anticipate charges being filed in the near future, however.

The police action, the result of an investigative effort by the county's drug task force and Granby police, culminated in the seizure of "a large volume of evidence," according to Kraker.

Kraker said officials were still in the midst of processing all the marijuana as of Thursday afternoon and declined to give a specific figure on the amount of marijuana seized.

The Colorado Department of Revenue's Marijuana Enforcement Division was called to assist with the investigation due to the unique nature of marijuana violations in Colorado. The marijuana grow facilities targeted in the operations were operating within what officials termed the "gray or black market" and, according to Kraker, were in violation of the state's legal marijuana provisions.

"We would like to thank the citizens in Granby and Grand County for providing assistance with the investigation," Kraker stated. "We understand that illegal production and sales undermines Colorado's legitimate industries as well as being outright defiant to the population who asked for the legalization of marijuana."

Marijuana was the only illicit substance involved in the investigation, stated Kraker.

Multiple local agencies assisted the Granby Police and Department of Revenue in the investigation and execution of search warrants including the Grand County Sheriff's Office, Fraser-Winter Park Police and Kremmling Police.

-Lance Maggart, Sky-Hi News

Aspen man blames girlfriend for thievery, cops say

A local teen who admitted stealing thousands of dollars worth of merchandise while working at an Aspen clothing store in November was charged a week ago for again biting the hand that feeds him, according to court documents.

Kaden Gustin, 19, now faces a second count of felony theft, this time for allegedly stealing more than $12,000 in cash from the mother of a friend who allowed him to stay at her Snowmass Village home for a month, according to Snowmass Village police affidavit.

Gustin first denied taking the cash from the woman's purse after she allowed him to borrow her car, the affidavit states. Two days later, however, he admitted blowing most of the cash on a $2,000-a-night room at the Little Nell Residences and gifts for his girlfriend, who he hoped would move with him to California, according to the document.

"Gustin said (his girlfriend) makes him do 'weird s—' because he feels it's the only way to keep her around," according to the affidavit written by Officer Jason Powell.

He said he happened on the cash after knocking the purse over in the car, and "believes anybody that was put in that situation would probably make the same decision," the affidavit states.

Snowmass Village police first received a call from the mother of one of Gustin's friends Feb. 18, reporting that she allowed Gustin to use her car three days earlier. She said she'd recently "cashed multiple paychecks" and left the cash in her purse in the car when Gustin used it, the affidavit states.

After Gustin returned the car, the cash was gone, though he had $600 worth of groceries with him, which she thought was odd because she knew he didn't have much money. The woman said she confronted Gustin about the missing money, but he denied taking it, according to the document.

"(The friend's mother) did not want to believe that Gustin could have taken the money because she had taken him in and trusted him," Powell's affidavit states.

Gustin denied taking the money after the officer first interviewed him, too, though he was arrested anyway on two unspecified court warrants from Garfield County and Eagle County, according to the affidavit.

However, the officer then spoke with Gustin's "on-and-off-again girlfriend," who told them he showed her $10,000 in cash Feb. 18, which he said his grandfather gave him. In addition to the gifts Gustin bought her, the woman said he gave her $4,100 in cash "for traveling expenses" for the move to California, the affidavit states.

The woman returned the cash, the clothes Gustin bought her and $300 in makeup to the Snowmass Village police.

"Gustin said he did it because of (his girlfriend)," the affidavit states. "Gustin said after all the shopping and eating out in Aspen over Presidents Day weekend, there was no money left except what he had given (his girlfriend)."

In November, Gustin admitted to Aspen police he stole 18 separate items from Moncler in downtown Aspen while working there just a month and a half. A staff member at the store reported catching him leaving the store with a $1,675 ski jacket in his bag.

Gustin told Snowmass Village police last month that he committed the Moncler thefts because of his girlfriend as well, according to the most recent affidavit.

-Jason Auslander, The Aspen Times