Crime team reduces budget
Wiggins: Donations allowed ACET to cut spending
Steamboat Springs — The All Crimes Enforcement Team has reduced its supplies and operations budget by 34 percent while making several drug-related arrests with limited staff.
During a quarterly hearing with the Routt County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, Task Force Commander Garrett Wiggins said moving into a donated Hayden office – and receiving three donated vehicles from local dealerships – has allowed the task force known as ACET to cut spending. ACET also has benefited from a $90,250 federal Justice Assistance grant received in July. That grant was initially denied after the Routt County Sheriff’s Office decided in February to withdraw from ACET, formerly the Greater Routt and Moffat Narcotics Enforcement Team.
“We were pretty much down the first part of the year trying to reorganize and figure out how to do all this with the three remaining investigators we have,” Wiggins said.
While cutting costs, ACET investigated 31 cases from October 2006 through September 2007, though 22 of those cases are pending. GRAMNET investigated about 70 cases from October 2005 through September 2006, Wiggins said.
This year, eight felony arrests have been made in cases relating to cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, ecstasy, prescription drugs, crack and LSD, Wiggins said.
“What you need to know is that we’ve generated all but six of these cases in the last three months,” he said. “We’ve been working 10 to 12 hours a day, seven days a week on these cases. It’s almost unheard of.”
The agency also seized 160 grams of cocaine, 48.3 grams of methamphetamine, 121 pills of ecstasy, 148 grams of marijuana and 38 marijuana plants, he said.
“There’s an assumption that we’re losing the war on drugs,” Wiggins said. “There couldn’t be a more false statement. While we’ll never eradicate drugs, we can put a dent on what’s going on out there.”
Wiggins said despite making several arrests and generating new cases, ACET is only able to follow up on about 10 percent of the information it receives about drug-related and other crimes.
“It gives you an idea about what’s going on out there,” he said. “There’s no end in sight.”
ACET is working to get assistance from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to help with its caseload, Wiggins said.
ACET does not have authority to work Routt County cases without the permission of Routt County Sheriff Gary Wall. ACET also has redesigned itself to handle personal and property crimes that stem from drug cases, instead of assigning those cases to other law enforcement agencies, Wiggins said.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Undersheriff David Bustos asked Wiggins how many other crimes the agency has generated from its most recent drug cases.
“None so far,” Wiggins said.
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In an effort to make coal more competitive against natural gas and renewable energy sources, two of the nation’s largest coal companies, Peabody Energy and Arch Coal, have announced that they plan to combine assets in Colorado and Wyoming. Routt County’s Twentymile Mine would be managed under the new joint venture.