News in brief |

News in brief

Aspen police arrested Jose Antonio Hernandez-Perez on Thursday in connection with the investigation that spawned cocaine drug busts at two popular Aspen eateries last week. Hernandez-Perez was charged with money laundering and conspiracy to sell cocaine. He was held in the Pitkin County Jail on a $12,500 bond and an additional Immigrations and Customs Enforcement restraint. The drug busts netted approximately five ounces of cocaine with an estimated value of between $20,000 and $40,000. Police also seized $5,000 in cash believed to be associated with criminal activity.

The town of Snowmass Village announced Friday that it has been awarded $96,151 from the Federal Transit Administration.The funds will go toward replacing town buses with wide body, low-floor shuttles that will improve boarding and exiting, said David Peckler, Snowmass Village transportation director, in a news release.”The [new] buses do cost more than the vehicles they are replacing, but the customers’ responses so far have been very complimentary, and the improvements to the boarding time at loading areas is a big improvement for the service,” he said.

RIFLE (AP) – For the second time in three days, an explosion has caused a fire at a natural gas site off Interstate 70 near Rifle.The fire Thursday at Williams Production occurred in a tank holding a mix of water and petroleum condensates. The blaze was most likely accidental and was allowed to burn over about two hours, said Rob Jones, a firefighter with the Rifle Fire Protection District.”There wasn’t a whole lot we were able to do on that grand scale of a fire other than protect life safety. All we really did … was secure the area and let it burn itself out,” he said.No one was injured.Another explosion on Tuesday destroyed a Williams Production compressor station that collects gas from about 80 wells. The cause was undetermined.Tricia Beaver, hearings manager with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, said it doesn’t appear that the company violated any commission policies, and the second fire might have been due to the extreme cold temperatures.

COLORADO SPRINGS (AP) – A 23-year-old convicted sex offender is accused of hacking his way into Internet accounts to extort sex.A search of the home of Benjamin Clinton Stribling revealed that he had collected information on many female Internet users in a bid to solicit sex, said policeman Anthony Parsons.Stribling was sentenced to 24 months probation after pleading guilty to sexual assault in 2003.This week Stribling was arrested for allegedly threatening to post sexual photos of a woman on line unless she agreed to have sex with him. The victim said he had broken into her E-mail account and found erotic photos of her.He was able to hack in because the victim had given him basic information, including her birth date and user name. “It sounds like he casually got this information over a period of time, just in open conversation – he was pretty smooth,” Parsons said. “They chatted on the Internet as a friendly situation, and he took it one step further.”

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