Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Aspen-area law enforcement upset over feds' unannounced drug raid - The Denver Post

Aspen-area law enforcement upset over feds' unannounced drug raid - The Denver Post

Miffed about not being informed in advance of a recent federal drug raid, Aspen-area law enforcement officials met with a top DEA agent Wednesday to smooth tensions.

But while participants did not return calls after the meeting, the session seemed unlikely to change a long-running Drug Enforcement Administration policy of keeping locals out of the investigative loop during drug probes in Pitkin County.

A federal grand jury last week indicted six Aspen and four Los Angeles residents on drug charges after a year-long DEA investigation.

Immediately, complaints were raised about the lack of coordination between the federal government and local police, who weren't told about the investigation even as DEA agents began rounding up suspects.

Acting DEA Agent-in-Charge Steve Merrill said agents purposely didn't tell locals about the investigation in part because former Sheriff Bob Braudis, who left office in January, and his successor, Joe DiSalvo, knew the suspects. Merrill didn't want the investigation compromised.

In fact, two of those arrested last week, Joseph Burke and Jack Fellner, contributed a combined $200 to DiSalvo's election campaign last year, and Burke gave $100 to Braudis' campaign four years earlier.

"Aspen is a very small town," DiSalvo said, explaining why he would know the suspects as acquaintances and some of them would give to his campaign. "Degrees of separation are two or three degrees maximum."

Aspen and Pitkin County authorities have for decades publicly stated their disdain for undercover drug operations. They don't conduct them.

"Aspen is a different kind of place," said Ted Conover, author of "Whiteout: Lost in Aspen," who now lives in the Bronx in New York City. "It's not the drug trade as we picture the drug trade from the (TV) shows. Especially in this case, it seems to be more of a friend-based trade."

Nonetheless, Conover said he understands why the DEA wouldn't contact local authorities about a drug operation.

Read more: Aspen-area law enforcement upset over feds' unannounced drug raid - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_18142184#ixzz1NSeEmzCs
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