2 Montrose men held in I-70 meth sting

Two Montrose men in separate rental cars were arrested on Interstate 70 near the state border Thursday night on suspicion of trafficking methamphetamine from Nevada, according to an arrest affidavit.

Dario Antonio Morales, 34, and Mitchell Morales, 46, were booked into the Mesa County Jail on suspicion of conspiracy, distribution of meth, among other charges, after they were stopped around 9:20 p.m. by Western Colorado Drug Task Force officers in separate vehicles eastbound on I-70, about three miles from the Utah line.

Officers said they recovered approximately 10 ounces of meth between the two vehicles.

According to the affidavit, Dario Morales said they were returning from Las Vegas after gambling and buying drugs. He said he was driving in a second vehicle, “watching” for law enforcement. The affidavit said two-way radios and police scanners were found in both cars.

On Tuesday, Colorado Bureau of Investigation agents learned the pair had planned to rent cars, the affidavit said. Officers placed Global Positioning System units on the undercarriage of the cars. They tracked the pair from Montrose to Mesquite, Nev., and on to Las Vegas before heading home Thursday night and returning home on I-70, the affidavit said.

The affidavit said a confidential informant in February told authorities about a drug-trafficking organization based in Montrose, which was moving pound quantities of meth from southern California to Grand Junction, Delta and Montrose.

The source specifically named Mitchell Morales in connection with the alleged group. Early in the investigation, he sold a half pound of meth to a confidential informant, the affidavit said.

The CBI on Friday declined to specify the relationship between the suspects and refused to release booking photos.

Dario Morales on Friday was ordered held at the Mesa County Jail on $100,000 bond. Mitchell Morales was ordered held on $150,000 bond.

Public defender Heidi Taylor told a judge Friday that Mitchell Morales has lived in Montrose County since 2006, and he volunteers with a local Meals on Wheels program.


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