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Update: Four arrested during drug raid at Cortez motel

Three arrested on drug-related charges

Three people were arrested Thursday morning on suspicion of drug-related offenses during a raid on several rooms at the American Holiday Mesa Verde Inn in Cortez, according to law enforcement officials.

A fourth man was arrested for a felony warrant.

Suspected illegal drug activity at the hotel at 640 South Broadway has been under investigation and surveillance for the past 11 months by the Montezuma-Cortez Narcotics Investigation Team, said Cortez Police Chief Vernon Knuckles.

The undercover operation culminated in a multi-agency raid Thursday morning involving the Cortez Police Department, Montezuma County Sheriff’s Department, Colorado Bureau of Investigation, 22nd Judicial District Attorney, Southwest Colorado Drug Task Force, Drug Enforcement Agency, La Plata County Sheriff Department and Colorado State Patrol. Cortez Fire Protection District also responded.

“It was a fairly large operation, especially for one location,” Knuckles said.

An earlier report mistakenly stated that 10 rooms were searched.

The raid involved 30 officers from the agencies, and search warrants were enforced simultaneously, he said. There were no injuries, and suspects were cooperative.

Drugs confiscated were 95 grams of meth, 2.5 grams of psilocybin mushrooms, and 2 grams of heroin. A firearm was also confiscated.

According to the Cortez Police Department, the four people arrested were: Herman Ricky Maestas, suspected of illegal drug distribution and possession; Garth Yager, suspected of illegal drug distribution; Skylan Brassill, arrested on a felony warrant; and Russell Garner, suspected of illegal drug distribution and importation.

Drug-related arrests were also made at the hotel on Oct. 19 and 20, Knuckles said. The investigation is ongoing, he said.

The raid Thursday began at 9 a.m., and several rooms were searched.

Dozens of officers, many in flak jackets and helmets, could be seen in the parking lot and balconies in the back buildings of the hotel.

“It went smoothly. Nobody got hurt,” said Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin. “We continue to go after traffickers to keep drugs out of our community. It’s an uphill battle.”

At the same time of the drug raid, search warrants were also executed in another part of the same hotel regarding a missing-person case, Knuckles said.


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