US Marijuana Party

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Sheriff Criticizes Aspen Drug Raid, CO

ASPEN, Colo. -- Federal officials said that more arrests could come soon in connection with an alleged cocaine-trafficking organization using Aspen as a distribution point.

Dozens of officers raided two restaurants last week, rounding up nine restaurant workers on suspicion of distributing cocaine.

DEA spokeswoman Karen Flowers said those are just the "tip of the iceberg." Warrants are already out for two other suspects, and additional charges are pending.

Officers also arrested 11 other people on alleged violations of immigration law.

Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis told the Aspen Daily News that he "was not told one word" about plans for 53 federal and local police officers to simultaneously storm Cooper Street Pier and Little Annie's Eating House.

"The main issue is what I will call officer safety. You can understand that if Deputy X, Y or Z was having a hamburger at Little Annie's or Cooper Street when the operation was executed, there could have been some potential for violence based on the lack of knowledge of what was truly happening," Braudis told the newspaper on Monday.

Braudis did not learn of the raids until he got a call from the county jail about a sudden influx of prisoners.

Aspen Police Chief Loren Ryerson said he should have informed Braudis of the pending raids.

Detectives for both agencies work in the same room. The two agencies share office space in the basement of the Pitkin County Courthouse.


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