Aspen Officials Blast DEA Over Unannounced Arrests
Yesterday they wrote the DEA a letter, lambasting the agency for not telling local law enforcement what they were up to. The Commissioners urge the DEA to "“reconsider the directive you've given to your field agents and employees that places innocent people at risk.”
The letter has more details of the meeting between DEA and local law enforcement after the most recent bust.
“They were informed by [DEA] Agent [Jim]Schrant that he was brought into our community to ‘clean up … Aspen.' Our law enforcement representatives were told that the DEA tactics were necessary because he could not trust law enforcement in Pitkin County or the City of Aspen,” the county's letter reads. “Our law enforcement officials were told that if anything catastrophic were to happen that the ‘blood would be on their hands.' This is of course an incorrect assessment of legal liability.”
The feud between the DEA and local law enforcement in Aspen goes back decades. It's a public safety issue. Here's one incident from 1975 that reads like something out of a television script:
[The letter] notes a 1975 event in Aspen in which federal agents, acting alone in attempting to make an arrest, resulted in a confrontation with Aspen police who were responding to a report of men with firearms walking around a residence.
“Officers from both agencies confronted each other with weapons at the ready,” the letter states. “Luckily, no one was hurt.”
The DEA has said the drug investigation is continuing. Since court pleadings show they used wiretaps, pole cameras and physical surveillance to investigate those recently arrested, it's a good bet the surveillance is ongoing.
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