Police: Ring ran loads of meth
Records describe investigation of large drug-distribution network
Suspected members of a recently busted Mesa County drug ring are accused of trafficking major amounts of methamphetamine into Mesa County by way of Nevada and California, then selling the product using local dealers and a Clifton-area storefront, according to recently unsealed court records.
Recently unsealed affidavits describe in detail the extensive investigation, which has been ongoing by local and federal drug investigators since October 2016. The investigation has so far netted 25 pounds of methamphetamine and resulted in 11 arrests, according to earlier reports.
Investigators, who obtained warrants to tap multiple phones of suspected drug operators, believe the local organization is headed by 52-year-old Daniel James Randall, who allegedly coordinated the transport and sale of multiple pounds of methamphetamine at a time to people in Mesa County and the surrounding areas. He has since been charged with a special offender count on suspicion of being engaged in a continuing criminal enterprise, as well as multiple other drug-related charges and a felony count of money laundering.
“It is apparent that Randall is the leader of the local organization,” an affidavit for Randall’s arrest said. “Multiple individuals take direction from Randall during the purchasing, delivery and distribution of methamphetamine, and the collection of money for the distribution of methamphetamine. Randall directly contacts the source of supply to negotiate the price for the multiple pounds of methamphetamine, arrange the transfer of the methamphetamine for the agreed upon price, and arrange for delivery to the Mesa County area.”
A 39-page affidavit written by a Grand Junction police detective and member of the Western Colorado Drug Task Force describes the months-long investigation that launched in October when he received a tip that Randall was a methamphetamine dealer in Mesa County.
The task force in early March obtained the first of several orders from a judge authorizing agents to wiretap various phones, including Randall’s.
The affidavit for Randall’s arrest describes the alleged dealers speaking by code on tapped phone lines about transactions worth thousands of dollars and coordinating shipments of multiple pounds of methamphetamine. Randall and other alleged members of his organization are noted discussing the purchase and delivery of “one Sonic drink,” believed to be code for an ounce of methamphetamine.
The detective wrote in the report that investigators believe 39-year-old Darnell Oswald Flowers, of Las Vegas, Nevada, was Randall’s major source of supply.
“Your affiant believes Flowers is well connected in a large drug trafficking organization in Las Vegas and California,” the detective wrote.
Investigators also believe that 32-year-old Evens Fleurantus was tasked by Flowers with collecting money, while 37-year-old Aaron Lee Cobb is suspected as acting as Randall’s second-in-command, the report said.
“(Cobb) lives at Randall’s shop at 3405 F Road,” the arrest affidavit said. “Randall is allowing Cobb to take a larger role in the (drug trafficking organization), allowing Randall to distance and insulate himself.”
Randall’s girlfriend, 36-year-old Sarah Lynn Sutton, has also been arrested in connection with the ring, and is accused of helping to package cash for Fleurantus and trafficking large quantities of meth into Colorado.
Investigators also named several suspected dealers with ties to Randall’s inner circle, including Randall’s ex-wife, 39-year-old Amber Nicole Adams, a De Beque resident who “possibly distributes to that area.” Adams’ current boyfriend, 54-year-old Leonard Russell Edwards, is accused of buying meth from Adams, then distributing it in the Moab area, the report said.
Michael Lawrence Mack, 51, is also named as a suspected meth dealer.
Trevor Rogalski, 39, is suspected of importing seven pounds of meth from Las Vegas, Nevada, to Grand Junction for Randall’s group.
Several other people were named as suspected members of Randall’s network in law enforcement’s summary of evidence in the arrest affidavit; however, it’s not clear how many more arrests are forthcoming.
Mesa County prosecutor Mark Hand in an email earlier this week confirmed that 31-year-old Laci Jane Johnson and 33-year-old Larry Dean Johnson were also arrested in connection with the investigation. Randall’s affidavit didn’t detail how both Johnsons are suspected of being involved in the ring.