8 arrested in GarCo drug sting

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GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo. (KKCO) -- More dangerous and synthetic drugs are off the streets of Garfield County after officials arrest eight people drug possession and distribution.

The Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team (TRIDENT) have been working for five months to catch the dealers selling MDMA (ecstasy), cocaine, LSD and "smiles," which is the nickname for synthetic drug 2C-I. That drug is sold by the tablet, in "blotter" form or in powder form and has psychedelic effects similar to ecstasy, according to a TRIDENT release.

In an effort to target the source and supply, TRIDENT officers purchased ecstasy and "smiles" from a house across the street from Glenwood Springs High School. They also bought cocaine and LSD, and the purchases resulted in three search warrant executions and eight arrests.

The following people were taken into custody:

  • Eric Kneipper: 21-years-old

  • Marc Merchant: 29-years-old

  • Christopher Pacchioli-Dardynski: 19-years-old

  • Bradley Rice: 22-years-old

  • Katelin Wirth: 19-years-old

  • Joshua Tello: 39-years-old

  • Jesse Tello: 39-years-old

  • Mike Casto: 51-years-old

Charges range from possession and distribution of a controlled substance to conspiracy to distribute, as well as possession with intent to distribute.

All are Class 3 or 4 felonies. Class 3 felonies carry a penalty of 2-24 years in prison and a fine between $3,000 and $750,000. For Class 4 felonies, a convict can get 1-12 years in prison and a $2,000-$500,000 fine.

Officials say a sting like this will cause drug trafficking organizations to lose thousands of dollars.

Bradley Rice

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