DEA and TRIDENT Make Arrest Tied to Aspen Overdose Death
JUN 25 -- GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Jeffrey D. Sweetin, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Denver Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Martin Beeson, District Attorney for the Ninth Judicial District of Colorado, and Lou Vallario, Garfield County Sheriff and Chairman of the Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team (TRIDENT), announced today that Ryan Welgos, age 30, of Aspen, Colorado, and Nelson Raul-Gamez, age 24, of Aurora, Colorado, were arrested on Colorado State drug charges related to the sale of heroin. Welgos and Raul-Gamez were arrested as part of a 3 month long investigation which began with the heroin overdose death of Adam Peterson on March 23, 2008, in Aspen, Colorado.
“For years a small but vocal group of Aspen residents have argued that drug enforcement – and particularly DEA – is not welcome in their city”, said SAC Sweetin. “Time after time they have said there is no drug problem there. But, as this tragedy demonstrates, drug distribution and abuse are present in Aspen. And as long as they are, DEA and our willing partners will continue to investigate and prosecute drug traffickers wherever they operate – including Aspen, Colorado.”
The investigation was launched after the Glenwood Springs office of the DEA learned of several heroin overdoses in Aspen, Colorado; including the heroin overdose death of Adam Peterson. DEA agents were able to identify the source of the heroin ingested by Adam Peterson as Aspen resident Ryan Welgos. DEA and TRIDENT joined forces and, utilizing a TRIDENT undercover officer, confirmed Welgos’ involvement in the heroin sold to Adam Peterson. As a result of the undercover investigation, agents were able to identify Welgos’ heroin source of supply to be Raul-Gamez in Denver.
On June 19, 2008, DEA Glenwood Springs and TRIDENT culminated the investigation into heroin distribution in Aspen, Colorado, with the arrests of Welgos and Raul-Gamez in Silverthorne, Colorado, following a purchase of 15 grams of heroin by Welgos from Raul-Gamez. DEA and TRIDENT were assisted by the Summit County Drug Task Force in making the arrests. A total of approximately twenty-five grams of heroin was confiscated as part of this investigation.
Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario stated that, "Our community remains a safer place to live because of the exceptional work of TRIDENT. This is just one example of the professionalism and dedication of TRIDENT members. Despite local criticism from other defendants of TRIDENT arrests and their defense attorney's, TRIDENT continues to complete mission goals to the betterment of citizens in Garfield County. As a result of this case, dangerous heroin was removed from our streets and nobody else will have to die because of this distribution group. If found guilty, we hope they will receive long prison sentences to prevent them from harming anyone else."
Welgos and Raul-Gamez have been charged with Conspiracy to distribute a schedule II substance (heroin), Distribution of a schedule II substance (heroin), Possession of a schedule II controlled substance with Intent to distribute (heroin) and Possession of a schedule II controlled substance (heroin).
TRIDENT is comprised of members from the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, Rifle Police Department, Glenwood Springs Police Department, Vail Police Department, Carbondale Police Department, and is also supported by the Silt Police Department and the Ninth Judicial District Attorney’s Office. DEA wishes to thank TRIDENT and the Summit County Drug Task Force for their participation in this investigation.
These charges are only allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.