Mountain News 

Drug cops trust no one

ASPEN, Colo. - The CIA didn't quite trust the Pakistani Army, and neither did the drug agents confide in the Aspen cops before they swooped in to make a big cocaine bust.

Aspen, and particularly Pitkin County, has long been known as a place where cops were willing to look the other way. Former Sheriff Bob Braudis clearly looked the other way when his buddy and neighbor, the late writer Hunter S. Thompson, ingested, and he also was clear that he had no intention of enforcing state and federal drug laws to the letter.

In this case, drug agents said they didn't trust sharing their plans to bust five Aspen residents involved in a major smuggling ring with the local law-enforcement agencies.

"Frankly, based on our investigation, we had revealed close ties between the current sheriff and several of the targets that were arrested," said Jim Schrant, the Drug Enforcement Administration special agent.

The Aspen Times noted that two of the five defendants had together contributed $175 of the total $40,000 the sheriff collected for his campaign.

DiSalvo described them as "acquaintances" and nothing more. He likened the relationships to that of Sheriff Andy Griffith, of the 1960s TV fame, knowing Ernest T. Bass and Otis, the Mayberry town drunk.

"In Aspen, I think there's two degrees of separation between most people, three degrees tops," he said. "It's inevitable that a good guy is going to cross paths with bad people every once in a while."

In Denver, media also noted that most of the suspects were in their 60s.


Coyotes snack on Labradoodle

ASPEN, Colo. - It's a dog-eat-dog world out there. The Aspen Times tells of a woman who was hiking Friday morning on a trail near Aspen, her Labradoodle running out ahead of her, when a coyote nabbed the dog and took it back to companions for a spring-time feast. Wildlife officials also tell the newspaper that a bear knocked down the door of a house in quest of food.


Prez hopefuls about

PARK CITY, Colo. - Ski towns, the more flush ones, are hotbeds of political comings and goings, particularly during summers leading up to presidential elections. These are places where billionaires and mere millionaires hang out, sometimes meeting to conspire, such as one called by the financier George Soros in 2004 to hatch a campaign to unseat President George W. Bush.

More often, it's a matter of the hopefuls stopping by to shake the local pockets for loose change. Again, Aspen comes to mind, as does Jackson Hole. But Park City saw a lot of presidential hopefuls in 2008. Rudy Giuliani visited, as did President George W. Bush on behalf of John McCain. Also making appearances was Mitt Romney, a part-time resident then who had been leader of the 2002 Winter Olympic organizing effort. Barack Obama, as a candidate, also blew through town.


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