Rifle drug bust a `boo-boo’
Agents of the local drug task force used force to open a door in Rifle Tuesday night, acting on information that drugs were being sold from the apartment on the other side.
The information this time was wrong, and, as soon as officials realized that, they terminated the search, released a woman they had taken into custody and made arrangements to fix the door.
“This is going to call for a big slice of humble pie,” said Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson Wednesday afternoon, speaking for the Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team (TRIDENT). “We’ve got a strong track record, but we missed this one. I feel terrible. The TRIDENT board held a meeting today and we decided the right thing to do is issue an apology.”
Wilson said the TRIDENT force “got information from a source that’s normally reliable” and used that information to obtain a search warrant. The Rifle apartment was approached, officers knocked repeatedly, and called out numerous times in both English and Spanish that they intended to come in.
When there was no answer, the door was forced open. Wilson said that as soon as officers got inside and talked with the woman, “they looked around and said `This doesn’t look right.’ “
Other than forcing the door, no force was used during the encounter, no one was harmed and no personal property was damaged or seized.
“This is a small town,” Wilson said. “The people in the house were really concerned” about what information might get out. According to TRIDENT’s official statement, “There is no indication that the residents of this apartment were involved in the information used to obtain the search warrant, and are not under investigation or suspicion for any crimes.”
Said the chief: “We’re going to have to backtrack now and find out why and where things went wrong. We’re doing a really full evaluation of our procedures to see if any need tightening up or changing. This is our boo-boo.”
TRIDENT has successfully executed dozens of search and arrest warrants this year with no previous incidents. More than 100 arrests for possession and/or distribution of drugs have been executed with seizures of more than 61 pounds of processed marijuana, 1.1 pounds of cocaine, 1.4 ounces of methamphetamines and 161 marijuana plants.
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