Police on Monday confirmed a sizeable drug bust that took place in Craig one month ago, but was never publicized because law enforcement agencies didn't want to step on each other's toes claiming credit.
In conjunction with a community corrections officer, Craig police seized about 3.5 ounces of methamphetamine and a similar quantity of marijuana from Edward Thacker, 47, a parolee living in Craig.
Thacker arrived in Craig through the Correctional Alter-native Placement Services, a halfway house that accepts prisoners from out-of-state jurisdictions.
Police in Craig routinely publicize high-profile crimes, such as large thefts and drug busts. But because police only assisted in Thacker's arrest, which was initiated by Colorado Department of Corrections parole officer Shane Fuchs, no press release was issued.
"When we're dealing with a state agency, we let them put out the information," Craig Police Lt. John Forgay said. "It might be different if we were working the case ourselves."
The DOC did not make public the details of the bust. Fuchs declined comment on the case pending permission from DOC.
The amount of methamphetamine seized in Thacker's arrest was large enough to be called "indicative of distribution," Forgay said. It is more than 75 grams.
Gram quantities -- about the size of a sugar packet -- are commonly sold on the street for $75 to $100, according to a local drug task force officer.
"When you see ounce quantities as opposed to gram quantities, it gives the impression the person is involved in distribution," Forgay said.
Publicity about such arrests, and the agencies involved, helps law enforcement by reminding citizens that officers are actively working on problems like methamphetamine on a daily basis, said Tim Jantz, a sergeant with the Moffat County Sheriff's Department. People perceive there is a drug problem, and they wonder who is doing something about it, Jantz said. Police officers, sheriff's deputies and others, such as Fuchs are doing something about it, and reports remind citizens of that fact, Jantz said.
K.C. Hume is the sheriff's chief investigator. He concurred with Jantz. Getting the message out about the arrests reminds residents "that we're definitely out there. We're trying to get these people off the streets," Hume said. "The more information we get into the public's purview, the better."
"The public needs to know there are things that are happening in relation to (eradicating drugs)," Forgay said. "Over the weekend, the Sheriff's Office (arrested) a guy we know locally."
According to Hume, a sheriff's deputy on Saturday arrested Derek Ralph Kettle, 32, on numerous charges, including distribution of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving after revocation.
Kettle was stopped on a traffic violation, Hume said. The deputy discovered Kettle had an active warrant out of Mesa County. After arresting Kettle on the warrant, the deputy conducted a search of Kettle's vehicle. The deputy called in the Craig Police Department's narcotic-sniffing dog, who alerted to drugs in the car.
Hume did not know the amount of the drugs that were seized.
"Based on the list of charges, I'm comfortable stating it was more than personal use," Hume said.
Hume said law officers are seeing more coincidences of methamphetamine possession and other crimes.
"It's just as routine to find meth as it used to be to find marijuana," Hume said.
Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org