Undercover operation

Six-month drug investigation by Craig police nets 18 arrests

Brandon Johnson

Police arrested 18 people Wednesday and Thursday after a six-month undercover drug investigation.

Fourteen Craig residents, pictured in the Craig Daily Press, face charges of distribution of methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine. Four arrested in the operation face different charges.

The 14 drug arrests were related, Craig police Chief Walt Vanatta said.

Although Vanatta said the arrests were connected, he did not refer to the group as a drug ring.

The 14 people charged with distribution were arrested after police say they sold drugs to undercover agents and informants during the six-month undercover operation.

Officers from the Greater Routt and Moffat Narcotics Enforcement Team, along with Craig police, Steamboat Springs police, and Moffat County and Routt County sheriff’s offices made the arrests, according to a statement from Craig police.

Officers executed 20 warrants starting Wednesday night in Craig, Steamboat, Oak Creek and Rock Springs, Wyo.

By Thursday afternoon, 20 officers in three teams had made 18 arrests.

When the investigation began, it focused on fewer people, Vanatta said. But in time, it grew to involve more than 20 suspects, he said.

“They kind of take on a life of their own,” Vanatta said about extended investigations.

In addition to the 14 people charged with distribution, three people were arrested at two homes in Craig on drug charges, and one man was arrested on a warrant.

At a home in the 900 block of Fairway Boulevard, Brendan Brown, 23, was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance, police said.

At a home in the 1300 block of Sequoia Avenue, officers arrested three people.

Debbie Bertram, aka Debbie Hudak, 48, of Craig, was arrested on a warrant from Routt County, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, police said.

Amy Sanchez, 24, of Craig, was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, police said.

Joseph Lopez, 29, of Craig, was arrested on a warrant.

Three of the suspects who were charged with distribution already were in the Moffat County Jail on other charges, according to police.

Shaun Sanchez, 26, Jonathan Crook, 24, and Paul Mendoza, 39, were in custody when officers began executing arrest warrants.

The investigation is not complete, and more arrests are expected, police said.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or

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