Regional: Steamboat man suspected of dealing drugs to 16-year-old
The Steamboat Springs man police believe sold prescription drugs to a 16-year-old boy has been charged with seven felonies and three misdemeanors.
Search warrant affidavits related to the arrest of Benjamin Nowak, 24, were recently unsealed by District Court Judge Shelley Hill.
The affidavits detail pieces of the prescription drug epidemic that is impacting youth in Routt County.
In this case, the 16-year-old was taken to Yampa Valley Medical Center on April 15 after consuming drugs.
Emergency room staff discovered there were opiates, amphetamine, methamphetamine, benzodiazepine and cannabinoid in the 16-year-old’s system.
The juvenile went to a rehabilitation center the next day.
Police first began investigating Nowak when a woman found him in her home with three high-school aged kids.
The woman questioned what was going on and was told Nowak was selling marijuana, according to the affidavit.
Later, the woman searched the 16-year-old’s car and found three pills marked as Onax, a generic form of Xanax.
On April 14, the woman was looking for the 16-year-old and found the juvenile in a car with Nowak; it appeared the juvenile was hunched over smoking something, according to the affidavit.
Nowak fled, and the woman took items from the car.
Police identified multiple alprazolam and Onax pills and a substance that tested positive for methamphetamine. Two other substances could not be identified.
Police began to search for the juvenile.
They found him early the next morning, about 4 a.m., after he was taken to Yampa Valley Medical Center for exposure and the drugs he had ingested.
The 16-year-old later told police he had bought the Onax from Nowak, according to the arrest affidavit.
The 16-year-old said he knew of two classmates who had gotten in trouble for having Onax.
According to the affidavit, the juvenile told police Nowak had offered to sell him heroin, Onax bars, marijuana, ecstasy, a hallucinogenic called DMT and mushrooms.
“(The 16-year-old) said Nowak would text him and several kids at the high school daily, offering to sell them drugs,” the affidavit states.
The 16-year-old told police Nowak got his Onax pills from a dealer in Steamboat who had 8,000 pills.
Nowak was arrested April 20. He is still in custody with a bond of $100,000.
Steamboat police Commander Annette Dopplick said the drug abuse by youth in Steamboat was concerning.
“It really speaks to the power of addiction,” she said.
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While the list of positive trends over the last year is short, one silver lining is that crime in Aspen dropped significantly.