News Release
September 7, 2006

California Supplier of Meth Arrested in Grand Junction;
Drugs, Cash and Gun Seized

SEPT 07 -- Denver, Colorado - Jeffrey D. Sweetin, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Denver Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey, and Captain Troy Smith of the Grand Junction Police Department announced today the arrest of Ralph Tapia, 34, of Riverside, CA, and the seizure of approximately $40,000 cash, a loaded 9mm handgun, and nearly one pound of methamphetamine.

According to the DEA, Tapia had traveled to Grand Junction from California and planned on staying as long as his meth supply would hold out. He was arrested yesterday as investigators with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Western Colorado Drug Task Force (WCDTF) put together “a set of facts and circumstances that just didn’t add up,” said SAC Sweetin. Tapia was observed by the WCDTF leaving a known drug suspect’s residence and making several stops at Grand Junction and Mesa County residences. This pattern, along with additional information developed through the course of the investigation, led agents to believe Tapia was making drug deliveries to Mesa County methamphetamine users.

On the afternoon of September 5 th Mesa County deputies stopped Tapia’s vehicle on Interstate 70. Tapia was arrested after police found drugs, cash and the weapon in his vehicle. Tapia was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and a special offender count.

“This is a significant seizure,” said SAC Sweetin. “Seizures of this magnitude result in a significant reduction in methamphetamine use. Add to this one less gun in the hands of a drug dealer, and that ultimately makes for a safer community.”

“This arrest and seizure shows that the drug dealers are not limited by city, county or state lines; what impacts Southern California impacts Mesa County,” said Sheriff Hilkey.

Captain Smith stated, “This investigation demonstrates law enforcement’s commitment to make a real and significant impact on methamphetamine in our community and proves why collaborative efforts between local and federal agencies such as the drug task force are so vital.”

Tapia is being held in the Mesa County Jail pending prosecution in Colorado State court.

For further information, please contact Denver Field Division Public Information Officer Special Agent Mike Turner at (303) 705-7446.


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