Task force arrests for drugs soar in ‘12
The Western Colorado Drug Task Force in 2012 recorded 298 arrests, which was an eight-year high, according to an annual report by the multi-agency unit.
Arrest totals from last year were the highest since a methamphetamine-fueled crime spike in 2004 in Mesa County, when officers arrested 329 people.
While seizing a little more than $2 million worth of drugs in 2012, Task Force officers arrested 129 people on suspicion of trafficking or distribution of drugs, according to the annual report.
Officers reported another 63 arrests for simple possession and four arrests for manufacturing drugs. Included in the 2012 totals were 37 warrant arrests. One felony arrest in 2012 resulted in deportation, the report said.
In the same year Colorado voters moved to legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, the local Task Force in 2012 reported seizing approximately 451 pounds of marijuana worth more than $746,000, which was the largest amount since 2009.
Officers reported 41 petty-offense, marijuana paraphernalia violations.
Seizures of meth and cocaine in 2012 increased slightly from 2011, 40 pounds and 23 pounds, respectively, according to the report.
Also of note, Task Force officers seized a little less than one pound of heroin, up from a previous high in 2009. The Grand Junction Police Department in 2012 pointed to a rise in heroin possession or distribution arrests in justifying reforming its Street Crimes unit. The unit is responsible for, among duties, busting street-level drug dealing.
The Western Colorado Drug Task Force combines officers of the Police Department and Mesa County Sheriff’s Department, in cooperation with the Drug Enforcement Administration, to target drug organizations in Mesa County.