Police divvy drug bust money $3.5 million distributed to 9 agencies
By Mike McPhee, Denver Post Staff Writer
(DENVER) -- A total of $3.5 million, part of nearly $6 million found a year ago in a drug dealer's storage locker in Fort Collins, was distributed Tuesday to law enforcement agencies.
U.S. Attorney Tom Strickland handed out checks to representatives of six local agencies, one state agency and two federal agencies that helped in the investigation of nearly $10 million linked to marijuana smuggler Robert Golding.
'This is justice at its best, taking ill-gotten gains and putting them back into the hands of local law-enforcement agencies,' Strickland said.
Aurora Police Chief Verne Saint Vincent said he knew some money was coming but never expected it to be that much and that soon.
He said the department is getting a $270,000 command vehicle - a high-tech RV that is deployed to crime scenes and emergencies - next month, paid for with other seizure money.
Chris Olson, director of Englewood's department, said the money may be used to expand the department's facilities or on a command vehicle.
Douglas County Sheriff Steve Zotos said he hopes to purchase forensic computer equipment and apply some of the money toward air support.
The money practically dropped into the laps of federal authorities, who had been looking for Golding for six years. They connected Golding with a woman who was arrested in January 2000 coming across the Canada border.
Searching her vehicle, U.S. Customs agents found $190,000 in cash and a rent receipt to a storage locker in Fort Collins. Federal drug agents opened the locker and found $5,995,525, mostly in $20 bills, weighing 400 pounds.
A few days later, Golding, 43, was stopped in a rental car in Colby, Kan., for allegedly making an illegal turn.
When a police officer started searching the car, Golding got out and fatally shot himself in the head. Police found $4 million in duffel bags in the trunk, which was distributed to Kansas law-enforcement agencies, which also helped in the investigation.
Agencies sharing about $3.5 million in seized cash:
Aurora Police Department, $986,759.83
Chaffee County Sheriff's Office, $86,228.96
Colorado Bureau of Investigation, $57,485.97
District Attorney's Office, 11th Judicial District, $86,228.96
Douglas County Sheriff's Office, $929,273.86
Englewood Department of Safety Services, $1,159,217.75
Internal Revenue Service, $7,429.20
Salida Police Department, $86,228.96
U.S. Customs Service, $86,228.96
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