High Country Crime: Steamboat Springs “homeless chef” accused of selling heroin | SummitDaily.com

High Country Crime: Steamboat Springs “homeless chef” accused of selling heroin

Summit Daily staff report
news@summitdaily.com

A 43-year-old man was arrested Wednesday and charged with dealing heroin.

David B. Walker faces charges of distribution of heroin and conspiracy to distribute heroin.

Walker identifies himself as a homeless chef, who is currently unemployed and originally from Boca Raton, Florida.

He was arrested by the All Crimes Enforcement Team regional drug task force.

The affidavit outlining the probable cause for his arrest has been sealed and cannot be viewed by the public.

According to the charges, the crimes occurred in Routt County on or about July 25.

Recommended Stories For You

—Matt Stensland, Steamboat Today

'You in the suitcase, show me your hands'

Searching the apartment of a wanted 48-year-old man suspected to be a member of the California Crips street gang, Garfield County authorities found him hiding in a pink suitcase.

This was not, however, their first contact with the man.

Parachute police responded to a domestic disturbance at the apartment building in September.

The man's 35-year-old girlfriend told officers that he had struck her in the face, and they noted obvious swelling to her face. She said that the boyfriend grew angry over a man who added her as a "friend" on Facebook. He later threatened to get a knife and "slit her throat" as he was attempting to keep her in the apartment, she told police.

Officers found that the man was subject to a protection order with the girlfriend as the protected party. Soon afterward police got another report that the man was trying to get into the woman's car. And a Parachute police officer spotted him fleeing on foot on a trail, though authorities were not able to apprehend him then.

An arrest warrant was issued for felony menacing, misdemeanor third-degree assault, misdemeanor violation of bond conditions and misdemeanor violation of a restraining order. Domestic violence was applied as a sentence enhancer. That was added to three other active misdemeanor warrants for his arrest.

On Oct. 13 Garfield County Sheriff's Office Threat Assessment Group went to the apartment looking for the man. The girlfriend was home and told officers that she had not seen him or heard from him in two days. They asked to search the apartment, and she hesitantly agreed.

As officers searched the apartment, guns drawn, one officer found a pink suitcase covered with clothes and shoes in a closet. The officer then saw the suitcase move, and he could see a foot. He said something to the effect of, "You in the suitcase, show me your hands," according to an affidavit.

After giving several loud verbal commands for the person to come out of the suitcase, the top finally opened up and they could see the man inside, but he wouldn't come out.

At gunpoint and Taser-point, they eventually negotiated him out of the luggage, and he was arrested on the warrants, in addition to felony criminal impersonation, felony violation of bond conditions and misdemeanor obstruction of a peace officer. His girlfriend was also arrested on felony attempt to influence a public servant and misdemeanor false reporting to authorities.

—Ryan Summerlin, Glenwood Springs Post-Independent

Rifle PD gets new drug pups who will be trained to ignore marijuana

As he enters the twilight of his career, Tulo, the Rifle Police Department's drug-sniffing dog, will get to watch his successors grow into the role that has put him among the most famous canines on the Western Slope.

Thanks to fundraising by New Castle's 12-year-old Carter Fulk, the Rifle PD's newest members, Jax and Makai, were welcomed to town at Rifle City Council on Wednesday night. They will eventually follow in Tulo's pawprints and become members of Rifle's K9 Unit.

Though Tulo has had a long and successful run with the department, he was trained to sniff for marijuana — which can complicate prosecution. Because marijuana is legal in the state, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled in July that a dog alerting to drugs in general does not provide legally sound probable cause for a search.

"Dogs that can sniff for marijuana get called into question more in court and can make things more difficult," Officer Garrett Duncan explained.

Learning that Tulo would be retiring prompted young Carter Fulk, who wants to be a cop when he grows up, to help. He was at Wednesday's council meeting with his mom, Michaela.

Carter thought about starting a lemonade stand, but instead created a GoFundMe campaign to get Rifle's police new dogs. In just a few weeks the fund raised $1,540 to purchase Jax and Makai.

Duncan, handler for Tulo and Makai, said that he expects both puppies to be out in the field by this time next year.

"We are just working on the basics right now," he explained. "It's all repetition and positive reinforcement."

Duncan has been a handler for the department since 2010, working with Tulo since he came to Rifle.

Officer Jared Bartunex was recently named a second handler for the department and will work with Jax.

Jax and Makai will stay at their respective handlers' home when not working.

Tulo, 9, is around the typical age of retirement for police dogs, so new dogs would eventually have to be phased in regardless of the marijuana issue. He will continue to serve as the face of the Rifle Police Department.

Without a K9 budget, Fulk's fundraising was welcomed by the Rifle PD.

On Wednesday, Rifle City Council and Police Chief Tommy Klein named Fulk an honorary canine officer and presented him with a plaque for his achievement.

Klein said he hopes Jax and Makai will serve Rifle for the next 10 years or more, and told Carter to give him a call in seven or eight years about joining the force himself.

—Alex Zorn, Glenwod Springs Post-Independent