Back-to-back drug arrests resulted in dozens of grams of suspected heroin and methamphetamine being seized from suspects.
A Thursday Special Weapons and Tactics raid on Weldon Road reportedly netted 16 grams of heroin, counterfeit bills, multiple types of ammo and fentanyl patches. The discovery of the latter sent officers outside briefly to put on breathing masks.
Two men, Carlos Macias-Lerma and Corey Rouse, were later detained; formal charges are pending.
Wednesday, the Montrose Police Department seized 28 grams of suspected meth during a traffic stop and arrested Nicolas Garcia, who is now free on bond with formal charges pending.
Then, on Friday, what began as a medical call at a gas station ended with the seizure of 24 grams of heroin and 7 grams of meth, ammunition and property that had been reported stolen, police said.
Troy McKibben was arrested on suspicion of drug offenses, as well as on outstanding warrants.
Wednesday’s drug arrest began with an obstructed license plate, which prompted police to pull over the vehicle Garcia, 25, was said to be driving.
Officers pulled it over in the 900 block of North Townsend Avenue, Montrose Police Cmdr. Tim Cox said.
The three occupants got out of the vehicle in a way that caused the arresting officers to suspect they might flee; all were ordered back into the vehicle. Because of their behavior, officers asked Garcia for permission to search the vehicle, which Cox said he granted.
In the center console, officers reportedly found a bag containing 28 grams of suspected meth. They also reported finding drug paraphernalia and 9mm ammunition.
A woman in the vehicle with Garcia was also arrested — on a warrant and on suspicion of drug possession, after police reportedly found her with two syringes containing suspected methamphetamine, Cox said.
Garcia is suspected of drug distribution. He posted bail and returns to court Aug. 15 for formal filing of charges.
Weldon Road op
The MPD, with assistance from the 7th Judicial District Drug Task Force and Montrose County Sheriff’s Office, arrived early Thursday to the 400 block of Weldon Road to serve a search warrant. SWAT was deployed because police had learned there could be weapons on the property, Sgt. Michelle Berry said.
Officer Kaitlyn Esplin, who prepared the arrest affidavit for Macias-Lerma, searched the south side of the home. She said in the document that she found a metal box containing syringes, the opioid-reversal drug Naloxone, a digital scale and multiple fentanyl patches.
Other officers on scene located about six small dogs in the home; these were taken by Animal Control.
Esplin reported finding two counterfeit $100 bills, a phone and a small bag of marijuana in the bathroom. Officers also found a leafy green substance throughout the home, on tables and on the floor; pipes and suspicious black and brown substances, the affidavit says.
Officers were told Macias-Lerma, the listed tenant of the home, had been mixing heroin and fentanyl. This discovery prompted officers to briefly leave the home to suit and mask up.
Another man who left the scene before officers could contact him, had been observed dropping a plastic-wrapped bindle containing a large amount of a black tarry substance, the affidavit alleges. That man was being sought on a warrant.
Esplin began searching in and around a car the man had been close to when he reportedly dropped the substance. She found paraphernalia outside and in the car, two loaded Glock magazines, a digital scale and a pipe.
In the trunk, Esplin located several boxes of ammo, including .40 caliber, 9mm, 12-gauge and 20-gauge, the affidavit says.
Police were told several people had been at the home and some of them had departed in a blue car.
That afternoon, Officer Jonathan Roberts spotted a vehicle matching that description and followed it onto East Main Street, where he pulled it over for alleged speeding.
Macias-Lerma was inside; Rouse was driving, according to arrest affidavits.
Macias-Lerma reportedly said he was heading “to court” for another case and, later, that he was “trying to get away” from drugs. Esplin asked him why he was associating with people suspected of drug involvement; he said, “something to the effect of ‘the homies just come over and sometimes we shoot up; sometimes we smoke,’” the officer wrote in the affidavit.
Esplin arrested Macias-Lerma based on what had been found at the Weldon Road home earlier.
He is suspected of drug possession and drug distribution. Macias-Lerma is due in court for a bond hearing Aug. 8 and remained in custody Friday, according to jail records.
Rouse allegedly admitted to having a “rig” — a kit of drug paraphernalia — with him in a backpack when his car was pulled over, Roberts said in Rouse’s affidavit.
The officer seized and searched the bag. He reported finding used syringes, a scale and a spoon, both with the residue of suspected heroin on them.
Additionally, Rouse could not supply a license, vehicle registration or proof of insurance. He was arrested on suspicion of drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Rouse was also still in custody Friday. He is due in court Aug. 15.
The discoveries were “very concerning,” Berry said Friday. Fentanyl is dangerous to breathe in; it can also be deadly when mixed with heroin.
Although SWAT was deployed because of the possible firepower at the address, no weapons were found, but that doesn’t really comfort Berry.
“No guns were located, which tells me they were out in the street, which is very scary,” she said.
“ … The real concerning thing is the amount of guns and ammunition we’re finding in correlation with the drugs.”
Police and paramedics were summoned to a truck stop on North Townsend Avenue Friday morning, after a clerk there could not get the attention of a man found parked at the pumps.
Berry made the scene first and banged on the windows to waken the man, who was later identified as McKibben.
Berry said that within plain view, she saw drug paraphernalia and a scale with a brown tarry substance inside the vehicle, which gave her probable cause to search it.
According to Berry, once she did, she found more than 24 grams of suspected heroin — “an extreme amount” — and almost 7 grams of suspected meth, a large sum of cash and personal property that matched items previously reported stolen, including IDs and credit cards.
McKibben was arrested on suspicion of drug offenses, as well as on warrants, including one issued by parole. Formal charges are pending and a court date was not immediately available. McKibben remained in custody Friday, according to jail records.
The continuing drug arrests are the result of officers putting in overtime and conducting proactive ops whenever possible, because it is important to the community to get guns and drugs off the streets, Cox said.
“Whenever we do have time to conduct proactive police work, these are the types of things we can accomplish,” he said. “Our officers have worked really hard.”
Katharhynn Heidelberg is the Montrose Daily Press assistant editor and senior writer. Follow her on Twitter, @kathMDP.