Additional arrests expected
WALSENBURG — No matter the outcome of the Nov. 4 election, Huerfano County Sheriff Bruce Newman had plans for the following day, and they had nothing to do with politics. Instead, Newman and four members of his agency executed search and arrest warrants at a residence in Walsenburg in an effort to stem the tide of hard drug use in the community. When HCSO Sgt. Craig Lessar knocked on the door at 109 Tyler in Walsenburg at about 8 am, a sleepy person answered and admonished him with a “shush”, but the quiet of the morning was over as sheriff’s personnel made arrests and began a search of the home. The homeowner, Barbara Gutierrez, 50, and Thomas Harrington, 35, were arrested and charged with possession of a schedule II controlled substance and unlawful manufacturing and distribution of drugs. Gutierrez was also charged with possession of a weapon by a prior offender. Both were being held at the county jail; Gutierrez on a $40,000 cash only bond and a $500 c/s bond on warrant #14M02070, and Harrington on a $30,000 cash only bond. “Heroin is getting to be the new thing around here,” said Sheriff Newman, “we’ve been looking for a way to break this open, and our initial investigation into a reckless endangerment case led us to these arrests.” Seized during the search warrant were approximately $10,000 worth of heroin, methamphetamine, and suspected cocaine. In addition, drug paraphernalia, including scales and at least one ‘loaded’ syringe, $2,600 in cash, and a .380 semi automatic handgun were bagged as evidence. Vanessa Montez, 38,
who was at the home at the time of the raid, was arrested on an active Denver warrant. Sgt. Lessar had additional arrest warrants in hand on Monday and was in the process of trying to find a judge to sign them. In addition to Sheriff Newman and Sgt. Lessar, Undersheriff Dave McCain, Lt. Milan Rapo, and Deputy Ray Walsh took part in the operation.