Task force: drug seizures on the rise

ACET also reaching out to users seeking help

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— The All Crimes Enforcement Team, formerly known as GRAMNET, seized more than $250,000 worth of illegal narcotics in 2007, a number more than double the previous year's drug seizures.

"Our mission is the same - to combat every aspect of illegal narcotics," said Garrett Wiggins, ACET task force commander.

The year-end seizure numbers were part of information ACET recently released during its annual meeting with financial contributors and assisting agencies.

Contributors include the cities of Craig and Steamboat Springs, Moffat and Jackson counties, and the town of Hayden; assisting agencies are the 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office, Colorado State Patrol, federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Wiggins said ACET was encouraged by feedback from the contributors and agencies during the meeting. About 32 representatives attended, he said.

"They realize the importance of the task force," he said. "They understand the impact illegal narcotics is having on our community. Everyone is committed to seeing the task force move forward."

Routt County's financial withdrawal from what was then GRAMNET in 2007 prompted the task force's reorganization, which took the first six months of the year to complete. It included renaming the task force and, though maintaining its focus on narcotics, broadening its mission to include other crimes stemming from drug cases.

Wiggins said a chunk of the dollar figure attached to last year's drug seizures stemmed from seizing about 51 marijuana plants, each plant capable of producing 6 ounces to 1 pound of marijuana. The street value of those plants is anywhere from $110,000 to $300,000, Wiggins said.

At one point in the task force's history, methamphetamine distribution was the main priority, Wiggins said. And while that's still the case, ACET isn't ignoring distribution of other drugs, he added.

"It's still meth because of the horrific effect it has on users," Wiggins said. "It's a very high priority, but it's not the only drug out there that we're concentrating on. : We focus on whatever intel we have at that point. If it's illegal, we're going after it."

Restrictions on methamphetamine precursors have reduced the number of labs in area communities, Wiggins said, but that doesn't necessarily mean the flow of that particular drug is waning.

Instead, he believes more of the narcotic is being brought in from other areas, Mexico being one example.

The task force sees various types of drugs in the area. Wiggins cited cocaine and heroin (a drug he said is making a comeback), as well as teen use of Ecstasy and prescription pills as examples.

But now, instead of fighting the so-called drug war solely on the law enforcement front, Wiggins said ACET is branching out to help users looking for a way out from their addictions.

"We know there is a lot more to it," he said.

If a user has "hit rock bottom," and needs help getting in contact with people who can help, ACET will try to connect that person with treatment options, Wiggins said.

"If we can get them some help," he said, "we can reduce the demand. : Anyone that wants some help, they can call us. It can be anonymously; we're not out to put them in jail, and we will steer them in the right direction."

The new direction isn't formal, Wiggins said, rather the product of discussion among task force members and other law enforcement officers on another way to reduce drugs in the area.

"We feel there is a need to have a point of contact," he said. "It's not something that's in writing, but we feel it's a program that should be installed."

ACET can be reached at 276-2075. If no one answers, callers may leave a message or call back until they reach someone, Wiggins said.

Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.

Comments

justathought 6 years, 2 months ago

Great job Wiggins, damn shame you didn't make sheriff. Now would be a good time to see if acet can get some support from Oak Creek. It would show the voters whether the OC Board was truly concerned about gramnets tactics and lack of results when they withdrew their support or if they are just a bunch of hypocrites that wants to keep the drug culture in OC happy.

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Benny 6 years, 2 months ago

Way to go ACET!! It's really great to see that ACET is looking at the drug epidemic from all sides. They are busting the bad guys and seizing the drugs and they're helping anyone get help who wants out of that lifestyle. That's very important and I've never heard of a department doing that before. KUDOS Garrett!

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twostroketerror 6 years, 2 months ago

If you feel you have a problem and need help, the best #'s to call are AA or CA at 879-4882 or Routt Co. D&A Council at 879-7708 This will greatly increase the chance of getting actual help and greatly reduce the # of armed thugs with (or without) a search warrant at your door looking to "help" you.

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id04sp 6 years, 2 months ago

One might wonder why removing RCSO support from GRAMNET seems to have increased the effectiveness of the new organization, ACET.

Now, why would REMOVING officers from GRAMNET make it more effective?

The answer should be obvious. The former involvement of RCSO had a negative effect on task force operations. Whether that was due to a lack of leadership, incompetence, or tipping off traffickers when they were about to be busted, Sheriff Wall made things better when he pulled out of GRAMNET.

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below_me 6 years, 2 months ago

Yes Id, and now one of those former RCSO gramnet investigators is conducting the internal investigation into our Sheriff's "alleged" violations of department policies involving driving under the influence in a County owned vehicle and prohibitive use of weapons.

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CoJustice 6 years, 2 months ago

Ido4: Your correct, now they don't have to deal with Walls disgrace and incompetence.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 2 months ago

Clevedave- if the plant was big enough to produce 6oz to 1lb, what is the street value per ounce? I can't say I'm too sure about that myself, but if someone knows what either 6oz or 1lb of pot sell for, let us all know. LOL!

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424now 6 years, 2 months ago

Congrats to the officers at ACET for a job well done. Lets all wish them continued success and safety.

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slinger01 6 years, 2 months ago

I remember reading an article a month or so ago where somewhere on the front range a task force was being sued for seizing something like 100 plants from a guy growing marijuana who later identified himself as a medical marijuana patient. The task force did not keep the plants alive and the court ordered the TF to give him his 6 legal plants back. Since the plants where dead the court ordered the TF to pay the guy something like $40,000. That means each plant was worth between $6000 and $7,000. I have heard that a oz. of marijuana, if it has quality will sell for about $300 to $400. That means a lb would be worth about $4800 to $6400. Sounds like the math is acurate to me.

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green77 6 years, 2 months ago

First, I doubt any plant grown around here is going to be anywhere close to 6 oz once it's dried. 1lb? GET REAL! 51 plants for the year realistically that would be more like a street value of $60,000

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slinger01 6 years, 2 months ago

That is probably why they have shown such a large spread, worst case and best case scenerios from $110,000 to $300,000. At worst case scenerio 6oz X 51 plants = 306 oz X $400 = $122,400. Maybe they are basing their dollar amount on what the courts forced task force on the front range to pay that medical marijuana patient when they failed to keep 6 of his 100 seized plants alive. Either way, I applaud them for a job well done and doing what they can to keep drugs out of our chldrens hands.
green77 sounds like you have some knowledge in reference to this subject. Hmmm, Maybe you can educate us. Obviously, anyone that supports marijuana use will degrade ACET's efforts and those that do not support marijuana use will applaud them.

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sunflower 6 years, 2 months ago

Plant weight includes dirt, roots, leaves, stalks and stems. The actual street value is usually wrong do to this.

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steamboatsprings 6 years, 2 months ago

Kudos to Gramnet. They reorganized and got better results and sheriff Wall did his part by having a few legal troubles that prevented him from helping his biggest voting block. Too bad the task force can't search Gary's property or their numbers would be even better.

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nurmidst 6 years, 2 months ago

If law enforcement did not over inflate these type of things they would have more credibility. In other professions this is called cooking the books, if nobody calls them on this they overstate there importance to our community asking for more money more manpower. Good job on offering a little help to the down and out. Being involved with legal marijuana medical production i can give a little insight to actual numbers, there is a huge range, half of the plants may be males if not pre-sexed these have no value. Indoor plants only 1 oz per plant or 1 lb per 100 sqft for the most experienced indoor grower. Outdoors you could get up to 1lb per plant but more than likely 4 oz max in this area where plants usually mature in sept-oct as you know up here they could freeze the first week of sept and be worthless so in this case they would be worth 0 to 80,000.00 dollars max. Was this a sophisticated grow operation or some kid with 50 plants in his closet? my point is how much of this is credited to the 300,000 they claim to have confiscated? Do your job but be honest or at least realistic about your accomplishments this is why some people have problems with funding these programs. meth, coke, heroin these are some truly scary subcultures good luck with your encounters with these people i think these are a real threat to our communities and our children and are worth your attention!

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seven 6 years, 2 months ago

May God bless the A.C.E.T. team. These days its near impossible to find people who sincerely want to help others. Drugs impair as does alcohol the true joy of life. Folks under the influence are mislead down a life ending path.
Intersessors such as A.C.E.T. bare the burden of being considered the enemy, when in fact they are part of the few who care deeply that all people are given a chance to live. Drug enforcement teams see all the horrid end results of drug use and families destroyed. The least the rest of us common people can do is take a stand to support these" blessings of hope". Please remember to pray for A.C.E.T., Police,Fire, Ambulance and any unspoken,unknown individuals that put the sheild of protection over our lives by laying down their own life to sheltor us from harm.

Also remember a call to Crime Stoppers at 870-6226 with any drug or other criminal information can greatly help A.C.E.T. do their job. It is anonomous and any very tiny piece of info. matters. Especially be alert to Oak Creek. This town really has a bad drug problem and issues with drunk drivers. Together it is entirely possible to irradicate drugs and thugs in Oak Creek that today strangle the lives of common law abiding citizens. Get serious and focus on being a part of the new movement to see Oak Creek rise from the ashes to become a true Rocky Mountain town in rebirth.

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slinger01 6 years, 2 months ago

OK, I got online and did some research myself on hydro marijuana grows. Depending on the type of grow, equipment, and knowlege of the grower, 1 plant can produce 2 ounces to as much as 16 ounces of marijuana bud. An everage seems to be about 4-6 ounces per plant for individuals that have a good idea of what they are doing. It seems that they can go from a starter plant to harvest in about 3 months so when you figure ACET got 51 plants at say only 3 ounces per plant then the value would be at minimum $81,900. Now, if the grower was able to grow these 51 plants all year then 51 plants would net over 200 plants throughout the year which would have a street value of $210,000 minimum.

nurmidst, what would you estimate your plants would be worth if ACET seized your plants and failed to keep them alive because your a medical marijuana patient, then the court ordered them to pay you full price for them? $100 or maybe $5,000 like the front range incident.

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green77 6 years, 2 months ago

slinger01 stop being such a hater. Let adults do what they want as long as they're not hurting others in the process. And saying that ACET's keeping drugs out of the hands of children is ignorant. Anyone who thinks locals growing pot are selling it to children is foolish. Grow up and stop trying to micromanage others lives.

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ijustlookhi 6 years, 2 months ago

right on green. most likely gramnet is power hungry cops looking to justify a job for themselves.

God made pot so making pot illiegal is like saying God made a mistake...

We must teach the middle way.

Do I want my kid to be a Nascar fan, Bud drinking gramnet officer who feels powerful in a uniform...NO.

Do I want my kid to be a strun out derelict...NO.

But please we don't need the pilot doing PR for Gramnet...

Using pot is not criminal in nature just by our arcane law.

I don't care if you come home from work and want a martini or a joint...both are bad if you use too much.

Now Meth and other crap...that's man made junk or something perverted into bad medicine...its not cool.

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justathought 6 years, 2 months ago

Truly spoken like someone that doesn't just look high. You need to get out of the clouds before you try to rationalize your drug habit. God made water too, does that make it legal for us to drown you in it? You say "martini or a joint...both are bad if you use too much", when you're not in a stupor, look around you; look at the alcoholics that can't make it through a day without a drink and you drugged out dopers that have to have a joint to relax and handle stress and neither one of you will admit to having a problem. Drugs and alcohol are just a way of life, you can't face life without being stoned on something and now you want to teach the kids that it's cool. Why not teach these kids that life can actually be fun when they're stone cold sober in stead of trying to legalize another mind altering drug. You give new meaning to "get a life".

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stompk 6 years, 2 months ago

(this response is towards people in general)

If people spend too much money, and have to file bankruptcy, do we go after the bank (supplier)? No.

So why do we support this illegal war on American citizens (drug users or not) which is unconstitutional.

If someone does drugs, and commits a violent crime, then there is a constitutional right to bust them.

Many, many more people die from legally prescribed drugs every year, than illegal drugs.

And I challenge anyone to find a death linked to pot. It just doesn't happen.

But the sheeple will continue to pump dollar after dollar into these unconstitutional programs, because the TV says it's a good thing. Well, the article tells all.

"Restrictions on methamphetamine precursors have reduced the number of labs in area communities, Wiggins said, but that doesn't necessarily mean the flow of that particular drug is waning.

Instead, he believes more of the narcotic is being brought in from other areas, Mexico being one example.

The task force sees various types of drugs in the area. Wiggins cited cocaine and heroin (a drug he said is making a comeback), as well as teen use of Ecstasy and prescription pills as examples."

The key to the drug problem, is, stop f&8king oppressing people, thinking you are better than them, and they need your help.

It's ironic. The alcoholics helping the drug addicts.

Growing a plant, is not a crime. Soon, there will be gardening laws, you watch.

People need to start being neighbors again, and stop hiding behind the cops.

The more we rely on government programs to solve our problems for us, the less freedom we have.

Know someone who does drugs and it offends you?

Go talk to them. Give them your point of view. Set the example.

Stop putting them down, and then secretly seeing if they can get you a gram of coke.

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stompk 6 years, 2 months ago

You know, that party that Wall was at?

They served alcohol that night, right?

How many rich people did you see getting

DUI's that night?

We all know, some of them drove home legally drunk.

Cops could have set up a roadblock, and made their monthly quota.

But these are the same people who look down their

collectively snooty noses and fund the drug war, and stronger

DUI convictions.

They say, we are rich, and therefore we are happy, and you should be like us. We got rich, because we didn't sit around and smoke pot, and we are smart because we went to college.

Well, I say, don't call me next time your can't reset you damn GFCI.

Cause it's going to cost you (what do rich people make?), how about, $500 hr.

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nurmidst 6 years, 2 months ago

slinger- wouldn't want or expect anything i would just be happy not to be doing more time than a rapist or murder

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nurmidst 6 years, 2 months ago

something sounds odd about that story i was told that if you grew more than your limited number of plants that you would be prosecuted like anyone else, maybe there is more to that story i would like to see it! anyway its not about the money for some we are just some sick mofos looking for a little comfort!

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slinger01 6 years, 1 month ago

Marijuana will always be a hot topic to debate but the fact is it is still illegal to posess unless your a medical marijuana patient.
the problem is that there are people out there with a license to use it when there is nothing wrong with them. If someone is really sick and they get releif with marijuana then they should be able to use the stuff if they choose. beside the marijuana issue we should not give up the fight on illegal drugs since illegal drugs are the cause of so much crime ie; murder, burglary, robbery, theft and DUID that kill innocent people because people use then drive while they are high. green77 and nurmidst say it is our right to get high and use drugs as we see fit. I dont understand this mentallity. Should we put the right to get high over the safety and well being of every one, I think not. If the use of illegal drugs affected only the people using them and no innocent people were affected in a negative mannor then we would not have a drug war, period. The fact is that drugs have an huge negative affect on all of us.

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nurmidst 6 years, 1 month ago

I never said it is our right to get high and use drugs as i see fit if you read my original post i wished acet luck in pursuing those illegal drugs i have children that i dont want to have anything to do with coke, meth heroin, drunk driving! I was simply questioning their methods of accounting, a lot of people do but not in a public forum for fear of retaliation and i dont believe im unamerican for doing that,every other part of government has to account for what they do why not this? I think it is dangerous not to question what they are doing. i cant find anything on there pot bust but it is obviously the major asset on their total if you could make 250,000 thousand dollars by growing 50 plants dont you think there would be a lot more people doing it. If you take that amount away from their total how much have the tax payers spent for what we get? do we have unlimited funds for law enforcement, trials, incarceration i just think we could do a better job of picking our battles and getting better use of our tax money!

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