Last month, Moffat County residents saw what police say is the face of the community's methamphetamine problem. On the front page of the Dec. 23 Craig Daily Press were photographs of 14 people who police say distributed meth. Each was someone's neighbor, a member of someone's family.
The arrests were the culmination of a six-month drug investigation by officers from the Greater Routt and Moffat Narcotics Enforcement Team, along with Craig, Steamboat Springs and Oak Creek police and Moffat County and Routt County sheriff's offices. Those agencies, which typically take heat for not doing enough to stop the meth problem, deserve congratulations for their efforts.
In all, officers made 18 arrests. Four arrested in the operation face different charges.
On Dec. 27, police arrested a 15th suspect, from Oak Creek, proving they aren't resting after the initial bust.
It's important to note that none of the suspects has been convicted.
But the historic drug operation was significant in several ways.
First, the operation demonstrated cooperation among the agencies and immense planning. Execution of the operation required extreme diligence.
The operation also was significant because officers went beyond rounding up petty users. Law enforcement targeted people who they say sell drugs.
Putting a halt to meth distribution is obviously the only way to stop it. Consider the faces again. There was 19-year-old Kassandra Dilldine, who faces more than 32 years in prison. There's Sherry Bristow, 22, who also faces a long stretch behind bars.
Did drug dealers ever worry that they would ruin those young lives?
Drug dealers aren't known for carding their clients. Drug dealers aren't likely to lose a lot sleep worrying about the futures of their customers. Drug dealers don't spend a lot of time worrying about how their trade of choice destroys families, burdens the community and poses a danger to us all.
We're sad for the families who are affected by these drug arrests. But we're glad that law enforcement agencies are working to go after the people who spread misery with meth.
Congratulations to officers who worked so hard on the investigation.