APD haul: 98 grams of cocaine, $3,900 in Bentley's bust

By Real Aspen
Real AspenFebruary 14, 2011
After a sweep through Bentley's restaurant on Saturday allegedly turned up cocaine and cash, Aspen police announced an additional search of an employee's home yielded even more Benjamins and blow.

Through its investigation, police learned a Bentley's at the Wheeler employee who was not present during the weekend search was also dealing cocaine, according to an Aspen Police Department press release issued today. Police say they uncovered roughly 38 grams of the illicit drug and $1,400 at the suspect's home. At the time of the press release, police were pursuing a warrant to arrest the suspect for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

Police are cracking down on drug dealing that allegedly takes place out of Aspen's kitchens.

Bentley's kitchen worker Raul Perez Cortez, 50, was arrested Saturday during the three-hour sweep of the restaurant and is facing felony drug dealing charges. Another worker, Vicente Vasquez Gomez, 28, was collared for allegedly giving a false name and false identification.

Aspen police say they received video and pictures that showed "individuals packaging a white powdery substance on food preparation surfaces in the kitchen at Bentley." It is unclear who took the video and pictures but Aspen police received the evidence from Basalt police.

Aspen Police Chief Richard Pryor politely warned the city's other bars and eateries to keep their kitchens clean.

“We will take this opportunity to reach out to other licensed establishments, with the aim of preventing similar situations from developing in the future," Chief Pryor said.

The potential compromising of the public's "health and safety are especially concerning" to Aspen police.

"The Aspen Police Department intends to proactively approach the issue of illegal drug sales, as is their practice with crime prevention as a whole. In an effort to preserve the integrity of the investigation, and due to its ongoing nature, the Aspen Police Department will not be releasing further details regarding the investigation at this time. The department will release information pertinent to the public as [it] develops," the press release concluded.

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