Traffic tips off cops in drug case | AspenTimes.com

Traffic tips off cops in drug case

Naomi Havlen

Police say increased traffic at a home during mid-day high school breaks led to the arrest last week of a man charged with dealing marijuana out of his home.Michael Eckrich, 19, was arrested on March 16 and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, a felony. Police said Eckrich willingly told them where the drugs were in the house – almost 3 ounces of marijuana packed into plastic bags.According to Aspen police detective Chris Womack, a patrol officer in the area noticed a heavier-than-usual amount of auto traffic in and out of the Marolt employee housing on Castle Creek Road in the past weeks. Specifically, the traffic was from 10:30 a.m. to noon on weekdays – when Aspen High School has lunch breaks for students. It might indicate, Womack said, that some of the students were purchasing marijuana from Eckrich.”It’s not that we feel there is a drug problem at the school, it’s just that we observed the traffic in the area and that brought our attention to Michael Eckrich,” Womack said.Another police officer in the area reportedly saw two teenagers smoking marijuana in a car in the parking lot last Wednesday and charged the driver, a 16-year-old student, with driving while under the influence of drugs. The passenger, an 18-year-old student, was charged with possession of marijuana.The passenger allegedly identified Eckrich as the supplier of the drugs and pointed toward his apartment. Police asked that his name not be released since he is an informant in the case.Womack said he knocked on Eckrich’s door that afternoon, and Eckrich gave him consent to search his apartment for drugs.Womack said he found the marijuana packed into bags worth $150 and $75 for sale, and a separate bag of the drug that had not yet been weighed out for sale. Eckrich was taken to the Pitkin County Jail, where he was released on bond that afternoon.According to Womack, Eckrich would not say how many customers he has. Womack said he did say he had only been dealing the drug for six weeks to two months. He told police he moved to Aspen from St. Louis last July. He allegedly told Womack he doesn’t deal the drug to make money – he deals it “to smoke for free.”Eckrich also wouldn’t tell police where he was getting his own supply of marijuana to sell. He appeared in Pitkin County District Court on Monday with his attorney, Chip McCrory, and the case was set for arraignment on April 18.Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com


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