Woman finds guns, drugs in spud patch

Joanne Albertson just wanted to plant some potatoes this week.

She came across a lot more than dirt when she began digging in her garden at her Loma home: a cooler containing two loaded guns and $50,000 worth of cocaine.

The 61-year-old woman, who lives on 14 Road, called the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday to report she possibly found “a firearm wrapped in tape and plastic” inside a blue and white cylindrical cooler in her garden, according to a Sheriff’s Department report.

When a deputy arrived, he found two handguns—a Smith & Wesson .357 magnum revolver and a Llama Comanche III .357 revolver—loaded and wrapped in “significant amounts of plastic and duct tape” inside the cooler.

Both guns appeared to have “significant rusting,” the report said. A deputy reported he found a serial number on the Smith & Wesson but couldn’t find one on the Llama.

In addition, the cooler contained 16 bullets of the same caliber and four packages, all of which were filled with what’s suspected to be 2 1/2 pounds of cocaine valued at $50,000, Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Heather Benjamin said.

Benjamin did not know what the fourth package contained, and it was not included in the report.

Albertson has rented the house for three years, and none of the weapons or drugs is believed to be hers, Benjamin said.

Benjamin said she believes a SWAT team raided the property seven years ago, and the weapons and drugs found Wednesday are “assumed to be associated with” that raid, but “there is no way of knowing.”

She could not find any records of a SWAT raid at that address seven years ago.

The cocaine will be destroyed, and the weapons and bullets were booked into evidence as found property, the report said.

Albertson couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.


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