Aspen police confiscate cocaine at Bentley's

By Real Aspen
Real AspenFebruary 12, 2011
Aspen police seized two ounces of cocaine in a search of Bentley's at the Wheeler on Saturday.

Police and sheriff's deputies descended on Bentley's at 10:45 a.m. with a search warrant in hand, acting on a tip that drug dealing was occurring inside the popular eatery and watering hole.
Two men were arrested at Bentley's on Saturday morning after police searched the establishment for drug activity.



Detective Walter Chi, the lead investigator for the case, received word from the Basalt Police Department on Jan. 17 that cocaine sales were taking place inside Bentley's, authorities reported. Video and pictures showed "individuals packaging a white powdery substance on food preparation surfaces in the kitchen at Bentley’s," according to an Aspen Police Department press release.

Raul Perez Cortez, 50, was arrested for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Vicente Vasquez Gomez, 28, also was arrested for allegedly giving a false name and false identification.

The Aspen Police Department noted that drug laws can be controversial in hard-partying Aspen.

“I feel our community is right to debate the role current drug laws play in Aspen, however jeopardizing the health and safety of locals and visitors is unacceptable,” Aspen Police Chief Richard Pryor said.

Police made a point of saying they were acutely aware of the fallout of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration-led raid on a pair of Aspen restaurants a little over five years ago.
Police Chief Richard Pryor



"The Aspen Police Department took extra precautions with this case not to replicate the 2005 searches of Little Annie’s and the Cooper Street Pier," the press release stated. "Those searches, conducted in cooperation with the DEA, raised concerns about safety and trust with local law enforcement. In serving the Bentley’s search warrant, the Aspen Police Department made safety and coordination of efforts a top priority. To avoid potential risk to patrons, the department chose to serve the warrant before the opening of business hours. This decision was also made to limit the impact the search would have on regular business. The Aspen Police Department has made every effort possible to conduct the search in a respectful and safe manner. The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office also assisted the department in planning the search and providing personnel."


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