Was it a real threat? Nothing actually happened at the end of last week, but authorities are looking into just what the deal was Friday at Eagle County’s Battle Mountain High School in Edwards. The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office has sent out information saying a message about a threat of violence was found written on a floor at the school, and noting a specific date. Authorities say it wasn’t targeted at specific people, though. The sheriff’s office says it’s working with other local agencies and the school district to follow leads in the case. Until exactly what the situation is, is determined, Battle Mountain will have an increased school resource officer presence, beginning today. A notice on the apparent threat has already been sent to parents. If you have any information that could aid in the probe of this case, call the Eagle sheriff’s office at 328-8500, CrimeStoppers at 328-7007, or leave a tip online at tip submit dot com.
As we mentioned to you Friday, things are curious, and getting ever more so, at the soon-to-be-shut-down Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts. The Post-Independent reported over the weekend the Center only has about $5000 in its accounts at the moment, with some $68,000 in bills waiting to be paid. The Glenwood Police investigation of Center finances continues, and as it does, assistant City Manager Jenn Ooton writes in a statement that in these words, “while our hearts go out to the families who rely on the center’s programming and the employees… the city believes it is imprudent to risk additional taxpayer funds by subsidizing the organization’s operations during an ongoing police investigation.” And about that probe, there are no indicators so far, contrary to popular speculation, that the center’s financial troubles have anything to do directly with the management of former executive director Christina Brusig, who resigned early this month. Days after she stepped down, Brusig encountered criminal trouble with her personal finances. She paid a former landlord $11,000 in back rent last week, and now has 2 years probation to pay another $7000 she still owes. Some arts center backers are hoping to rally financial support from the public, and come up with about $75,000 in the coming 2 weeks to prevent its closure. As of this morning, however, the center’s expecting to be finished after its event “Dancers Dancing” on the 12th & 13th of this month.
A pair of Aspenites, Oscar Mora-Campos and Jose Chica-Orellana, and another regional man, have severe legal problems. They’re all alleged to be part of a giant international meth and cocaine trafficking ring, based in Mexico. Each suspect’s pleaded not guilty to charges of possession with intent to distribute 5 kilos or more of cocaine, 50 grams or more of meth, and 500 grams or more of some other drug with detectable amounts of meth in it. Mexican national Mora-Campos was arrested at his Hunter Creek apartment early on the morning of the 20th of last month. Chica-Orellana is from El Salvador, but when charged in this case under a 45-count federal indictment aimed at at least 15 other suspects, he was found to already be in the Clark County Jail in Las Vegas. The drug ring operations the 2 are accused of being part of, happened at a front range market called “El Rancho” in Aurora, from February to April of last year. In a statement very unusual about a specific case, federal Attorney General Jefferson Sessions says in these words, “this organization is alleged to have moved large amounts of meth and cocaine from Mexico to Colorado, with devastating impacts on communities in their wake.” Sessions adds that, quoting again, “replicating this kind of aggressive law enforcement takedown is critical to breaking the backs of these criminal organizations.” It isn’t clear whether the ring did any drug transactions in the Roaring Fork Valley. The indictment says Mora-Campos sold and/or acquired some of the drugs last October. Chica-Orellana also faces separate charges regarding transactions last July and August. They’re both accused of making illegal phone calls to set up drug deals last November. If convicted, both could go to federal prison for 10 years to life. A 3rd regional suspect, Eduardo Jimenez-Sanchez, has been living in New Castle, but was arrested in Breckenridge.
Regarding what’s been made legal by the voters… Legislators could soon prohibit local and state cops from taking part in any marijuana crackdown ordered by federal AG Sessions. The House voted 56 to 7 last week for a bill that wouldn’t allow state public employees to take part in, in these words, “arresting a Colorado citizen for committing an act that is a Colorado constitutional right.” Next stop, the state Senate. The legislature is also working on a bill that could let growers of recreational weed re-classify it as medicinal. That’s believed to be a defense that could help prevent the Trump administration from seizing those plants.
You remember those 2 young men, who after robbing a Carbondale convenience store back in February, led valley authorities on a manhunt for a couple days before getting caught in a car in Basalt. Now, one of them, 19-year-old Californian Benjamin Weeks, has been charged while in the Garfield County Jail, with the first-degree shooting murder of a Las Vegas woman in January. In the Carbondale armed robbery, Weeks had been accompanied by his cousin Nicholas Ameral, who’s a local. Weeks is now being held without bond for the Nevada case. No word when he might be extradited to face those more serious charges.