Drug task force rounds up suspects

Morning raids net 7 suspected drug dealers in Cortez area

Sam Green/Cortez Journal
Sgt. Travis Anderson, of the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office, puts the handcuffs on Darlene Alexander in an early-morning raid by area law enforcement Wednesday. Enlarge photo

Sam Green/Cortez Journal Sgt. Travis Anderson, of the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office, puts the handcuffs on Darlene Alexander in an early-morning raid by area law enforcement Wednesday.

In the predawn hours Wednesday, officers of the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office approached a mobile home wearing tactical vests.

They surrounded the residence and knocked on the door. After several knocks, a hand pulled back a curtain. After a few more moments, officers were inside, handcuffing 56-year-old Darlene Fay Alexander and seating her in a chair on the linoleum floor of her kitchen.

“What is going on here?” Alexander asked repeatedly as officers checked the house.

It is explained that Alexander has an arrest warrant for possession and distribution of methamphetamine.

“That is not true,” she said.

A printout of Alexander’s mug shot was held in front of her. She was asked if that is her. She said yes.

“Oh my God. This is terrible,” she said. “I can’t believe this.”

Alexander was led out of her trailer to a patrol vehicle just as a light morning rain began to fall.

Alexander was one of several suspects arrested Wednesday in a countywide roundup of suspected drug dealers.

Montezuma County Sheriff’s deputies and Cortez Police Department officers assisted the 22nd Judicial District Drug Task Force in the sting to arrest suspects accused of distributing drugs to a task force confidential informant.

This could be the last roundup for the task force after federal grant funding for the operation expired last year. Montezuma County Sheriff Dennis Spruell said the force applied for a gaming grant, which comes from gambling revenues. If the grant does not come through, the task force could be disbanded.

“We applied for a gaming grant,” Spruell said. “If we get it in November, we will keep going. If not, (the task force) will go away because we don’t have any funding for it.”

Officers located seven of 11 wanted suspects Wednesday morning. The remaining have pending arrest warrants.

Those served warrants Wednesday include Alexander, a Cortez resident; Charlene Ann Meredith, 49, of Cortez; Gaudalupe “Lupe” Guardado-Ruiz, 50; Delena Lynn Doty, 43, of Cortez; Robert Mason Byas, 60, of Cortez; Wayne Stewart, 55, of Cortez and Kevin James Thibault, 46, of Cortez.

Most of the suspects were wanted for the alleged distribution of methamphetamine; however, charges are yet to be determined by the district attorney’s office.

The task force serves Montezuma and Dolores counties.

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