Six arrested in probe of meth ring

At least six people were arrested Tuesday as Western Colorado Drug Task Force officers swept through eight homes in the Grand Valley as part of an investigation into a methamphetamine-distribution ring, authorities said.

Grand Junction Police Department spokeswoman Kate Porras told The Daily Sentinel that officers executed search warrants at 307 Cherry Lane; 423 Chipeta Ave., Unit B; 662 Crossing St.; 338 Four Star Court; 2814 N. Niagara Circle; 1815 Orchard Ave.; 1150 Santa Clara Ave.; and 1018 U.S. Highway 6&50, Unit 94.

Porras declined to release any other information about the investigation and said the search-warrant and arrest-warrant affidavits have been sealed. The names of the people arrested weren’t released Tuesday night.

A Cherry Lane neighbor who didn’t want to be identified said he was inside his house making lunch for his children when he heard a lot of commotion outside around 12:30 p.m. He said his son came inside and told him there were police officers and “army men” outside, referring to the yellow and green uniforms of the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department’s Street Crimes Unit.

The neighbor said he saw officers break down a door, break out a window and handcuff a man he said everyone in the neighborhood knows as “Bennie.” He said Bennie lives at the house with his wife and teenage son.

A local phone directory indicates Bennie and Damita Ortiz live at 307 Cherry Lane. Mesa County Jail logs listed 46-year-old Bennie Joe Ortiz as an inmate Tuesday night and indicated he was being held on suspicion of distributing meth.

“He’s super-neighborly. He’s a great guy,” the neighbor said of Bennie, adding Bennie often lends him tools.

The neighbor said a Special Weapons and Tactics van was among the vehicles that descended upon the neighborhood, which is located on a couple of narrow streets north of Unaweep Avenue. He said officers dressed in helmets and vests had a drug dog and bolt cutters with them, but he didn’t see them carry anything out of the house.

More than two hours after the raid, there were still eight Police Department and Sheriff’s Department patrol cars parked outside the home.


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