1972: Fifteen arrested in Aspen pot bust
July 20, 2006
In celebrating the 125th anniversary of The Aspen Times, we are printing a story or two from each year the newspaper has existed – 125 historical selections in 125 days. This series is in conjunction with the Aspen Historical Society. Fifteen arrested in Aspen pot bustMichael J. McGarry was arrested Wednesday morning, Nov. 15, bringing to 15 the number of persons arrested in Aspen’s weekend drug raid. Fourteen persons were arrested and $31,000 in cash and approximately 300 lbs of marijuana were seized Friday, Nov. 10.The arrests came as a result of an eight month undercover investigation conducted by the Aspen Police Department.Also seized by officers were about eight ounces of hashish, a small amount of cocaine and two vehicles.Key man in the investigation was David Garms, 25, who was hired in March 1972 as an undercover intelligence agent by the Aspen Police Department.His undercover activities were known only by Chief Dick Ritchey, Officer Gary Wall of the Aspen Police Department, and Deputy District Attorney Jim Moore.Garms stated that he infiltrated drug operations in Aspen and Pitkin County and involved himself in conspiracies to obtain and resell narcotics.During the first week of November, Garms and the Police Department determined that the undercover narcotics operation had reasonably fulfilled its expectations.It was decided to have Officer Garms attempt to set up a large narcotics deal and the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs was alerted.According to sworn testimony, the Federal Bureau provided $50,000 for Garms to show to suspected dealers in narcotics. (November 16).Olympic battle settled without AspenPerhaps the most heated controversy in Aspen’s history, who should host the ’76 Olympic alpine races, was settled this week in Japan when the International Olympic Committee permitted Denver to locate the races at a new mountain to be developed near Vail.Although a delegation opposing the Games for Colorado visited the IOC in Japan with a petition signed by over 15,000 residents, the committee reaffirmed its decision to award the 1976 Winter Olympics to Denver.However, on the urging of the Denver Olympic Committee, the IOC approved a request to disperse the Nordic events to Steamboat Springs and the alpine races to a new area at Avon near Vail.A request by Denver Olympic Committee member F. George Robinson to have Aspen bid for the alpine events, first made December 28, resulted in several public meetings and much local opposition.However, during the interim the Chamber of Commerce Board and the full membership voted to approve an Aspen bid for the races. Later the City Council gave conditional approval by a four-to-three vote. (February 3)Grass-roots cablecasts first TV showLocal TV programming came to Aspen this week when the Grass-roots Network cablecast its first hour-long composite video tape Monday evening.Seen on cable channel 12, the program was re-cablecast each night this week at the same time, 7 p.m. Quality of the first tape received mixed reviews, but all viewers contacted by the Aspen Times were enthusiastic about the idea of local programs.A non-profit, non-commercial enterprise, Grass-roots is supported by grants from local residents and businesses. Facilities are contributed by Canyon Cable TV, operators of the local cable system.The network was inaugurated by Aspenite John Smith, a former newspaper editor and journalism professor at UCLA, who is also the director.He is aided by Eleanor Bingham and Dave Wright. In addition to soliciting financial aid, the three are also soliciting help with programming in an effort to make Grass-roots a community effort, Smith told the Aspen Times.This week’s program was made with equipment owned by Smith with a grant from Carl’s Pharmacy. Much of the tape was made during December.Among the subjects portrayed are Aspen scenes from a pedestrian’s eye, brief interviews with local residents, a cocktail party-art exhibit, a song from the high school musical, coverage of a county hearing and electronic art movements.In addition, the tape contained a segment from a Robert Fulton film on Aspen potter Paul Sodner.When some viewers had trouble picking up the first grass-roots tape on their TV sets, engineer David Wright advised them to adjust their fine tuning and horizontal hold controls on their sets as the tape recorder was slightly out of phase with other cable channels.According to Smith, Grass-roots is now busy preparing their second program which is to be a documentary on the controversy of holding the Olympic Alpine events in Aspen. (January 13).