Drug task force renamed

GRAMNET broadens scope of work, changes name to ACET

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Three nabbed in recent drug arrests

Three men have been arrested on drug charges since Saturday.

All Crimes Enforcement Team Task Force Commander Garrett Wiggins said Wednesday that Lakewood resident Donald Gregory Hamm Jr., 29, was arrested Saturday on suspicion of distributing a Schedule I controlled substance, possessing a Schedule II controlled substance and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Hamm was arrested at his Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel room after Wiggins said undercover officers bought ecstasy and marijuana from him. After executing a search warrant of Hamm's hotel room, officers also found cocaine, Wiggins said.

Hamm could face additional charges including failing to register as a sex offender, stemming from a sexual assault conviction in Minnesota, Wiggins said.

The case is still under investigation.

A Routt County Court judge set Hamm's bond at $20,000 during an advisement hearing. ACET officers arrested two men Tuesday night on suspicion of possessing and selling cocaine.

Steamboat Springs resident Clayton James Custer, 20, was arrested at his Steamboat home on suspicion of distributing a Schedule II controlled substance. Wiggins said undercover officers bought cocaine from him on several occasions.

Stagecoach resident Bryan Keith Koppe, 24, was arrested on suspicion of distributing a controlled substance, possessing a controlled substance and possessing drug paraphernalia in connection with the case, Wiggins said. Wiggins said Koppe is thought to have been Custer's supplier.

Custer's bond was set at $10,000 during a hearing in Routt County Court on Wednesday. Koppe's bond also was set at $10,000.

The Steamboat Springs Police Department's Emergency Response Team, Routt County Sheriff's Office and Moffat County Sheriff's Office assisted with both investigations.

— The Greater Routt and Moffat Narcotics Enforcement Team, or GRAMNET, is no more. In its place is the All Crimes Enforcement Team, or ACET.

On Tuesday, Task Force Commander Garrett Wiggins said ACET's executive board of directors decided in June to rename the agency in light of restructuring.

"GRAMNET didn't fit anything in the picture anymore," he said. "We needed to start fresh and new."

Part of that restructuring inc-ludes the agency's focus, which goes beyond investigating narcotic-based crimes, Wiggins said.

Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta said ACET officers often came across other types of crime during their drug work, and they passed those investigations on to other agencies. ACET officers are now handling those secondary and tertiary crimes such as fraud, forgery, theft or burglary.

"We, as the board, looked at GRAMNET and realized that GRAMNET was doing more than just investigating narcotic crimes," Steamboat Springs Public Safety Director J.D. Hays said. "It's all inclusive."

Wiggins said the agency struggled through the beginning of the year in the wake of Routt County Sheriff Gary Wall's decision to cut funding for the agency. In addition to losing money, ACET also lost a fourth officer, who went back to work at the Sheriff's Office after Wall's decision.

ACET is staffed by Wiggins, a Steamboat Springs police officer, a Craig police officer, a Moffat County Sheriff's Office deputy and a financial manager. ACET's headquarters are in Hayden.

ACET received a boost in July when it was awarded a $90,000 Justice Assistance Grant for its 2008 budget.

In the past two months, ACET officers have been investigating dozens of drug and drug-related cases, he said.

"We've been burning the candle at both ends," he said.

Hays said he continues to be supportive of the agency's work in Routt County.

"I've always been supportive of drug enforcement in this community, and I'm glad to see the expansion of that enforcement to include other crimes," he said.

Wiggins said the agency's intent has remained the same.

"Our main goal still is to target narcotic distribution both on the street level and above," he said.

Sheriff Gary Wall said Wed-nesday that he has been cooperating with ACET investigations and will continue to do so as long as his officers are involved.

ACET "does not have the authority to operate in rural Routt County without the authority of the Sheriff's Office," he said. "If something's going down in the county, I want to make sure someone from my office is assigned to that so that I realize what the accountability is and that we're operating in the confines of the U.S. Constitution and civil liberties."

It's an arrangement Wiggins has agreed to.

"We worked out an agreement that if we are conducting an investigation in rural Routt County, we will notify (Wall)," Wiggins said. "It's worked out so far."

Wall said it was too soon to comment on whether he will contribute financially to ACET in the future.

Comments

nativegirl 6 years, 7 months ago

In a word, Yes. People who work as police officers submit to random drug testing.

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CoJustice 6 years, 7 months ago

Extraordinary representation for the community, this is great news. This organization will make them eligible for several grants under the "Computer Crime Enforcement Act", narcotic-based internet cyber crimes, Bank fraud, money laundering, crimes against children and especially drug enforcement. As usually, Wall looks like a fool.

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id04sp 6 years, 7 months ago

Stompk,

Sounds like a pilot for a TV show; RENO 911.

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id04sp 6 years, 7 months ago

Before we get too excited, let's make sure the arrests stick and the people get sent to jail.

I support Sheriff Wall's position on civil liberties. Let's make sure the search warrants, Miranda rights, and all the rest are in order.

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stompk 6 years, 7 months ago

Well, excuse me for stating the obvious, but don't cops enforce all crimes?

Why do we need a special team for that?

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whyquestion 6 years, 7 months ago

heaven help the victims of crimes, with the sheriffs reading of the constitution and bill of rights!!! ACET just follow the letter of the law!!!!glad to see county law enforcement getting extra help!!!!

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dundalk 6 years, 7 months ago

Way to go Garrett! Since other entities in the County dropped worthwhile programs, at least we are lucky enough to have Garrett, who continues to be a man of his word, keeping his campaign promises, even though he did not win and all the while maintaining his oath as a police officer, looking out for the good guys.

Keep up the good work Garrett!

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JQPUBLIC 6 years, 7 months ago

Garrett.... if too many of your drug busts go by the wayside, look into your notifications.

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