mesa county sheriff
Matthew Ryan Stauter, the final outstanding suspect wanted in connection to the December drug bust by the Western Colorado Drug Task Force (DTF) and the man who ran from deputies in Molina and tried to steal a car earlier this month is now in custody.
Late this afternoon, a combined effort involving the Grand Junction Police Department and Mesa County Sheriff’s Office Street Crimes Units, with assistance from the DTF, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, Homeland Security, and the Bureau of Land Management, led us to Stauter’s girlfriend, Taelor Oropeza, who was in the parking lot of 1000 N. 9th St. Oropeza also had a warrant for her arrest in connection to the DTF drug bust in December. She confirmed Stauter was in a bottom floor business at that address.
Officers and deputies from the agencies listed above surrounded the building, evacuated people from the other units in the building, and began calling for Stauter to come out, which he did without incident. The entire operation lasted about one hour and 15 minutes.
Oropeza was arrested on multiple warrants, as was the woman in the vehicle with her, 30-year-old Melissa Pruitt. Pruitt is being charged with accessory to a felony crime for helping Stauter and Oropeza avoid capture.
Local law enforcement worked together Tuesday evening (February 17, 2015) to arrest a parole absconder wanted in Utah who was known to be armed and dangerous. After executing a search warrant they found distribution quantities of drugs, multiple weapons, and thousands of dollars in cash.
The incident began when officers received information that 30-year-old Eduardo De La Cruz was at a tattoo shop in the 1100 block of N. 25th St. Officers established surveillance and saw De La Cruz get out of a pickup and go into the tattoo shop. Grand Junction Police and Mesa County Sheriff’s Street Crimes Units and SWAT members, along with members of the Western Colorado Drug Task Force immediately surrounded the building and evacuated people who were in adjoining businesses. They then called De La Cruz out of the building and took him into custody without incident.
Investigators obtained a search warrant for the truck he was seen in and found more than a half ounce of cocaine, more than a quarter ounce of heroin, more than 12 ounces of marijuana, and approximately 3.5 grams of methamphetamine. They also found scales, packaging material, and other drug paraphernalia, as well as two handguns, a rifle, a shotgun, and more than $25,000 in cash.
A criminal history of De La Cruz showed he was convicted of felony robbery in 2000 in Salt Lake City and is currently on parole.
12 People Arrested In Drug and Money Laundering Case; Investigators Looking For 4 More #GVCopBeat #PolTwt
The Western Colorado Drug Task Force (DTF), with assistance from the Grand Junction Police and Mesa County Sheriff’s Office Street Crimes Units, has arrested 12 of the 16 people believed to be involved in a drug trafficking organization in Mesa County.
DTF Investigators began making the arrests Thursday night, with additional arrests taking place throughout the day on Friday, after they obtained arrest warrants following an investigation that began in June 2014. Utilizing wire intercepts, confidential informants, and surveillance, investigators identified the people who were the primary supply sources for methamphetamine coming from the Denver area and being distributed in the Grand Junction area. Diligent police work led to the identification of Stephen Blake (date of birth 02/15/1973) as the person in charge of the distribution in Mesa County. They also identified multiple lower level drug dealers who worked for the drug trafficking organization or who obtained drugs from the organization. Investigators also seized methamphetamine, heroine, firearms, and counterfeit money while working this case.
Those who have been arrested at this time include:
- Stephen Blake (02/15/1973)
- Aaron Vigil (09/29/1983)
- Donna Lillie (04/11/1959)
- Dawn Murphy (01/20/1973)
- Justin Adair (08/18/1972)
- Kevin Smith (12/08/1976)
- Laura Smith (06/05/1960)
- Michelle Ricks (07/01/1979)
- Pearl Higgs (06/24/1956)
- Sharde Galindo (08/19/1990)
- Tomi Jo Highline (04/24/1965)
- Virginia Higgs (05/29/1975)
Those who have arrest warrants but have not yet been arrested are:
- Fabian Ortiz (12/05/1984)
- Matthew Finley (05/21/1986)
- Matthew Stauter (11/14/1984)
- Taeler Oropeza (12/10/1988)