Vail Sno-Cat thief arrested in a Boulder car dealership on drug charges
MINTURN — The man accused of stealing a Sno-Cat from Minturn and hauling it to Grand Junction has been arrested at a Boulder car dealership on drug charges and a bunch of other crimes.
Boulder Police were tipped that Jason Cuervo, 27, would be at Boulder Toyota. Officers showed up with six warrants for his arrest, including one from Eagle County, where Cuervo is accused of stealing John Brandenburg’s “General Lee” Sno-Catfrom the Turntable restaurant parking lot the morning of Sunday, March 11.
Boulder Police arrested Cuervo inside the Toyota dealership. In Boulder, he faces charges for distributing a controlled substance, obstructing a peace officer, drug possession, driving a vehicle with a suspended license, unlawful extraction, first-degree auto theft, weapon possession and vehicular eluding.
While he sits in the Boulder County jail, there’s the curious case of the stolen Sno-Cat in Minturn, where there is still a warrant for his arrest, said Amber Mulson-Barrett, with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.
There goes the Sno-Cat
While witnesses may or may not have seen Cuervo steal the Sno-Cat in Minturn, dozens of people saw him in his small Toyota truck, pulling the huge Sno-Cat from Minturn to Grand Junction, where he tried to hide it in a garage near the base of the Colorado National Monument.
Cuervo barricaded himself in the house as a Mesa County SWAT team showed up. When law enforcement entered the house, they found weapons, ammunition, drugs and drug paraphernalia. However, they did not find Cuervo, who had fled to the Front Range.
It was Monday, April 9, almost a month after the Sno-Cat was stolen, that Cuervo turned up in Boulder, where police grabbed him in the car dealership. Boulder Police received a tip that Cuervo would be there, said Shannon Aulabaugh, public information officer with the Boulder Police and Fire departments.
The General Lee
Brandenburg is one of the owners of The General Lee, a big, orange Sno-Cat that was on a trailer when Cuervo allegedly stole it the morning of Sunday, March 11, from the Turntable parking lot in Minturn. Brandenburg said he and some friends bought it on eBay from a guy in Northern California who bought it in an auction.
They dubbed it the General Lee because it’s orange like the famed car in “Dukes of Hazard.” And, yes, it has the General Lee horn.
When it was stolen, Brandenburg called the police but first posted the General Lee’s picture on Facebook. Brandenburg said the tips poured in, and his Facebook post was shared 3,000 times.
People messaged and called to say they saw the huge trailer being towed by a tiny Toyota pickup truck. One of The General Lee’s owners, a pilot, jumped in his plane to search from the air.
Cuervo allegedly trailered the big, orange Sno-Cat west on Interstate 70 toward Western Colorado’s high desert.
The General Lee was spotted by a woman in Mesa County who was curious about why such a small truck was pulling such a huge trailer and straining to do it. In fact, she was so curious that she followed it to a Grand Junction neighborhood near the base of the Colorado National Monument. The woman called the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, which asked the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office for a little help.
Mesa County deputies showed up to serve a search warrant, which is about the time Cuervo barricaded himself in the house. Sure enough, The General Lee was in a garage at the same house as Cuervo.
The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office and Grand Junction Police Department SWAT teams executed the search warrant, but Cuervo managed to escape, until he was arrested in Boulder.
Brandenburg got the General Lee back from the Mesa County Sheriff’s impound lot a few days after it was stolen.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
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