Information received over a period of years led 7th Judicial District Drug Task Force agents to traces of suspected heroin in the trash of a Montrose home — and ultimately, several grams of suspected drugs.
Now free on bond, Ashley J. Quintana was charged on Jan. 6 with possession with intent to distribute or manufacture drugs; unlawful drug possession as both a felony and as a misdemeanor, as well as with possession of a weapon by a previous offender.
Quintana was also charged as a special offender, because of her home was within 1,000 feet of a school.
The case was charged after a years-long investigation into possible drug distribution.
Leads that Agent Chance Davidson developed in 2017 pointed to Quintana and possibly another woman as being responsible for trafficking heroin in from Denver. (As of Tuesday, no current drug case had been filed against the other person whose name came up in the investigation.)
Later that year, another agent spoke with a confidential source who also pointed the finger at Quintana. In 2018, that agent heard allegations that Quintana had a half-ounce to an ounce of heroin at a time and sold “points” (one-tenth of a gram) for $25.
According to Quintana’s arrest warrant, by 2020, informants alleged she was selling an ounce of heroin for $1,200 — $1,400 and a gram for $100. One of the sources told agents where Quintana lived, as well as identified a possible vehicle.
Informants’ allegations continued to trickle to the task force in 2021; these included allegations Quintana might have methamphetamine and heroin, with one source reportedly admitting to buying meth.
The task force heard other names of people who could be involved in selling drugs on Quintana’s behalf, including fentanyl pills, the arrest warrant also says.
In October 2021, the task force conducted a trash pull at Quintana’s home, where she lived with relatives. Agents picked up two trash containers outside of the home, then sealed them with evidence tape before taking them in for processing.
Davidson took photos to record that the containers weren’t tampered with.
The task force alleged finding several syringes, both empty and those with traces of suspected heroin. Agents were able to extract substances from two of the syringes which field-tested positive for the drug, according to the arrest warrant.
The following day, Davidson secured a search warrant for the home, which was served on Oct. 29, with assistance from the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Quintana allegedly said “I’ll just give it to you guys” and also allegedly admitted she had heroin, a small amount of meth and pills.
Agents located three safes in the bedroom identified as Quintana’s. According to Davidson, Quintana divulged her father’s guns were in one of the safes and that one safe also held “some of the dope.” There was also some under her mattress, Davidson said he was told.
The task force seized two cell phones from the room, as well as suspected paraphernalia that appeared to show recent meth consumption. Between the mattress and box springs, the agents found a plastic bag, with a “dark black substance” Davidson knew to be consistent with heroin.
As well, agents reported seizing a digital scale, a bag with a white powdery substance (which Quintana allegedly later said was baking soda); fentanyl test strips; a bag containing “a large number of loaded syringes” and multiple spoons bearing the burnt undersides commonly associated with liquifying heroin for injection.
Within the safes agents reportedly found money and plastic bags containing suspected heroin. They seized a .44 revolver and a 9 mm handgun, neither of which was loaded. Both firearms came back clear, but Quintana, who has a previous felony conviction, was precluded from having guns.
The task force weighed the suspected heroin at 29.67 grams and the suspected meth at 3.73 grams. The arrest warrant also alleges agents found 1.54 grams of fentanyl pills.
“I know from my law enforcement training and experience that 29.67 grams of heroin is a distributable amount,” Davidson wrote in the warrant.
Since heroin is commonly sold as a tenth of a gram, or a “point,” he estimated what was seized to be about 296 “points” of heroin.
Quintana is due again in court on Jan. 27.
Katharhynn Heidelberg is the Montrose Daily Press assistant editor and senior writer. Follow her on Twitter, @kathMDP.