Craig Editorial Board
- Bryce Jacobson, newspaper representative
- Jennifer L. Grubbs, newspaper representative
- Bridget Manley, newspaper representative
- Allan Reishus, community representative
- Chris Runyan, community representative
- Ken Wergin, community representative
Craig It remains to be seen whether the recent drug sweeps by the All Crimes Enforcement Team results in convictions for the 12 people charged with distributing illegal narcotics in Moffat, Routt and other Colorado counties.
The suspects, believed to be part of the same organized distribution network, are in the early stages of the legal process, and a resolution of their cases may not come for several months.
Until then, we must operate under the same premise as our judicial system - that the suspects are innocent unless the men and women of the 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office prove them guilty.
Nevertheless, the editorial board commends the work of ACET, pronounced asset, and the partnering area law enforcement agencies that work diligently each day to stem the flow of illegal narcotics in our communities.
For too many years and too many times, illegal drugs have claimed the lives of Moffat County people, through either the pain and suffering of addiction or the penalty of a prison sentence.
Drug use in Moffat County, as well as across the country, is a problem of epidemic proportions and, make no mistake, a full-blown public health crisis.
The editorial board agrees with the progressive and evolved contention of most authorities in area law enforcement and the criminal justice system - that lessening the problem comes not only through the traditional means - hook 'em and book 'em - but also through educating our young people of the potential dangers at an early age.
The latter is where all of us - community members, parents, teachers, family members, friends - can play an important role.
We are engaged in what is quite possibly a war that can't be won against illegal drugs, but this outlook shouldn't discourage each one of us from serving as a foot soldier necessary to fight the battle. To borrow a war-time phrase, we must win the hearts and minds of our youths, and do it long before they can be corrupted by drugs and the people who push them.
However, education and prevention will only get us so far. And on this second front is ACET and our area law enforcement.
According to the agency's year-end numbers, ACET seized more than $250,000 worth of illegal drugs in 2007. On March 25, the task force's work continued with the drug sweeps, one of its largest operations to date.
Keep in mind ACET has engaged in these activities despite the Routt County Sheriff's Office withdrawal of funds and resources last year, which prompted the task force's reorganization. Credit the task force and area officials for staying the course and avoiding a mistake similar to the Sheriff's Office.
Authorities allege the 12 suspects are tied to one of the biggest trafficking organizations in Northwest Colorado, and one possibly tied to Mexican organized crime.
The editorial board awaits the legal process to play itself out before commending ACET on a job well done on the arrests. It is the task force's effort and intentions to date we commend here today.
In a fight with high stakes like the one we find ourselves waging against illegal drugs and its pushers, perhaps education, effort and good intentions will be enough.