By Renee Rinehart –(Published: June 29, 2017) Henry Solano, District Attorney for the Third Judicial District, called in federal reinforcements to help combat crime in Huerfano and Las Animas Counties.
At a public meeting in Walsenburg Monday night Solano introduced U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer and a team from various agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Agency, U.S. Postal Service and treatment centers to the members of the public and elected officials in attendance.
“We can bring a lot of resources from the Federal Government,” Troyer said.
Solano, a former U.S. Attorney, ran unopposed for District Attorney and started his first term in January 2017. “This is day 165 as District Attorney,” he told the audience.
Solano said drugs have taken a hold on families and communities and they will take a strong look at heroin, meth, opioids and marijuana grows. “We’ll be compassionate where we can, but recognize users committed a crime,” Solano said. “We’re committed to making a difference.”
Walsenburg residents were given an opportunity to tell how drugs have impacted their lives and their neighborhoods. One man tells of a squatter who moved into a one-car garage next door. He said traffic speeds down the alley 24/7 with up to two cars per hour stopping for transactions. He has put up security cameras to capture the activity. The suspect was arrested in late April. “There are still drugs on the property in piles,” he said.
A woman expressed frustration at the revolving door for drug offenders. “They get out of jail every time we turn around,” she said.
The citizens agreed they know who the drug dealers and users are, as many were raised in the community. They safeguard one another with warnings about suspicious people and activities in the neighborhood.
“We want to take the county back,” Solano said. He said by bringing federal charges to the drug criminals they will serve longer prison terms in facilities far away from home. “We revoke probation now, not like in the past,” Solano said. “We will deliver deliberate, strong, proportionate justice.”