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Man arrested in court by DEA now faces federal charges

by Bill Knowles

Mug shot of Anastacio V. Montoya prior to his federal arrest, taken in May. Photo courtesy the Las Animas County Sheriff’s Department.

TRINIDAD — Anastacio V. Montoya was arrested by federal authorities, Aug. 2, in the courtroom of the 3rd Judicial District in Las Animas County while facing state charges for intent to distribute drugs. The 40-year old Trinidad resident now faces federal charges on one count of possession with intent to distribute both methamphetamine and heroin. He has been transported to Denver.

Montoya was stopped on June 20, 2017, after sheriff’s deputy Trenton Gomez had given chase to a pickup driven by Montoya. Sheriff’s deputy sergeant Dasko joined Gomez in the chase until the pickup had to stop at the dead end on Park Street where the driver and a passenger left the vehicle and continued fleeing on foot.

Gomez chased the driver and brought him down with a straight-arm bar takedown. Montoya resisted until Gomez tased him in the lower back, forcing him into compliance so Gomez could place him in handcuffs. During a search of Montoya, Dasko came across a syringe filled with “a brown like liquid substance…possibly containing black tar heroin or methamphetamine,” according to the affidavit in support of a warrantless arrest.

It was while conducting an inventory of the pick-up truck in preparation for the vehicle to be towed that he found a blue clear see through container “containing two or more clear vials sitting on the passenger seat.”

One vial contained a white powder that “could possibly be methamphetamines and the other vial held a brown like tar substance, possibly heroin.” Also found in the inventory was a “fully loaded syringe containing a brown like liquid” which Gomez felt could be black tar heroin or methamphetamines. By then the tow truck arrived. Gomez placed a hold on the vehicle pending a search warrant.

Later testing showed the brown substance found in the syringe to be methamphetamine.

Montoya was charged by the DA’s office with one count possession with intent to manufacture or distribute a controlled substance, and one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances listed on both schedule one and schedule two of the Colorado Revised Statutes defining scheduled substances. He was also charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance and resisting arrest.

The count of conspiracy involved a person previously unknown to the DA.

The information gathered by both the sheriff’s office and the district attorney’s office went to a grand jury in Denver. Montoya was indicted by the grand jury.

While in court on Aug. 2, to hear the charges brought against him and to enter a plea, Montoya found out he had been indicted by a federal grand jury and would be taken into custody by agents from the DEA and transported to Denver.

Montoya’s face went ashen white and his lips tightened across his teeth when he heard the federal charges he was to face in a legal move he had not expected.

Mug shot of Anastacio V. Montoya taken right after his scuffle with Sheriff’s Deputy Trenton Gomez in June, prior to his arrest. Photo courtesy the Las Animas County Sheriff’s Department

District and Federal partnership

According to a press release from the DA’s office, the federal arrest of Montoya in the Las Animas County District Court “…constitutes the first step in a close and growing relationship between the District Attorney, Henry Solano, and federal law enforcement authorities.”

The indictment handed down by a federal grand jury and the subsequent arrest of Montoya, follow on the heels of meetings held several weeks ago in both Huerfano County and Las Animas County by the DA and members of several federal law enforcement agencies where residents who attended the meetings were informed by the DA and U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer that when arrested, the key criminal players from the local communities would be removed from their communities in the effort to undermine criminal networks engaged in either illegal drug activity or other criminal enterprises.

In a press release, Solano said major criminals should be looking over their shoulders now. “We are not in the business of slapping on the hand those who commit felonies, but intend to prosecute them to the fullest extent permissible under the law. I hope that Mr. Montoya’s case sends a message, loud and clear, to anyone who thinks it is okay to victimize our communities. This partnership is the start to taking our communities

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