Mordkin to defend Welgos |

Mordkin to defend Welgos

Charles Agar
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” The Snowmass Village attorney who will defend Ryan Welgos against heroin distribution charges said his client is caught in an interagency squabble.

Welgos, 30, faces a handful of felony charges over allegations that he, along with Nelson Raul-Gamez, 24, of Aurora, distributed heroin in Aspen resulting in the March 23 overdose of Adam Peterson, who was visiting Aspen, according to a news release from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

The two men are scheduled to appear in district court in Garfield County on Wednesday, July 2.

“I’m irate,” Welgos’ attorney, Arnie Mordkin, said Thursday.

Mordkin said he’ll request a gag order on everyone involved in the case.

Mordkin said he is frustrated that law-enforcement officials are using his client’s case to butt heads over long-standing interagency squabbles ” namely the disparity between drug enforcement in Pitkin County and the city of Aspen and the policies of state and federal agencies.

“He’s caught up in a web and an apparent fight between the DEA, TRIDENT [Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Agency] and appropriate authorities in Aspen,” Mordkin said. “And we’re not going to try this case in the press.”

DEA officials, however, said the overdose and arrests send an important message and put a dent in drug traffic in town.

“We believe that Welgos and Raul-Gamez were the source of a controllable supply,” said Jeffrey Sweetin, who heads the Denver office of the DEA.

In addition, DEA officials used the case to highlight their concerns over enforcement in Aspen, saying in a recent news release that they were reluctant to tip off Aspen-area law enforcement about federal investigations.

“[The statement] has nothing to do with our mistrust for Pitkin County,” Sweetin said. “But from a political standpoint, I’m reluctant to ask for their help.”

All told, 43.5 grams of heroin were seized as part of the investigation, court documents allege, and on Thursday the two men were still in custody in the Garfield County jail ” Raul-Gamez on a $42,500 bond and Welgos on a bond as yet undetermined.