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Cops burst into house in drug raid

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Lawmen burst through the door of an Old Town residence on Tuesday, setting off a concussion grenade as they arrested two men on narcotics charges.

Arrested were:

( Omar Romero Flores, 28, who faces two counts of distribution of a controlled substance and a count of possessing a controlled substance with the intent to distribute.

( Nahun Cortes-Quintana, 24, who faces eight charges, including possessing a controlled substance with the intent to distribute, possessing drug paraphernalia, five counts of forged documents and a charge of driving with a denied license.

Summit County prosecutors on Friday were continuing to review the case. Formal charges had not been filed by midday Friday.

Lawmen raided the residence, 1060 Woodside Ave., unit #3, at about 4 p.m., using a battering ram to knock down the door and tossing the concussion grenade, which emits a loud noise and a flash of light when it explodes, inside as they rushed the building.

"It was an unbelievable arrest, significant players," Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds says.

The authorities discovered eight ounces of cocaine during a search of the residence and vehicles, the police say in a release. Edmunds estimates the cocaine has a street value of between $10,000 and $12,000. Park City Police Department Lt. Rick Ryan reports $2,300 in cash was seized in the raid.

The police and deputies also found fake Social Security cards, false identifications and scales used to measure narcotics, according to the release. Undercover officers had previously purchased drugs at the location.

At least one of the suspects lives at the address but Edmunds says they move frequently.

Ryan says local police typically seize a few grams of cocaine in drug busts. He says some of the cocaine discovered in the case was found in small twist-tied bags hidden in compartments in shaving-cream cans and Pepsi cans. He says the eight ounces is the biggest cocaine seizure in the city in at least a few years.

"We think it certainly slows down one supplier or two suppliers," Ryan says, alleging they sold in Park City, surrounding Summit County and Wasatch County. "Street-level dealing, I think we made a significant impact."

In 2005, the most recent year for which statistics are available, the Police Department arrested 130 people on drug charges, an 80.5 percent increase from 2000, according to department statistics. In that period, the police, working with other agencies, have widened their narcotics operations.

Edmunds says the investigation stretched for several months and included drug buys. The details will likely be outlined when prosecutors file formal charges.

Edmunds says a narcotics task force organized the raid and obtained what is known as a ‘no-knock’ search warrant. That allows the authorities to burst in on the suspects. He claims the suspects were dangerous, prompting the non-knock warrant.

The suspects are from Mexico and the police say they are living in the U.S. illegally. Immigration officials ordered them held. They remained at the Summit County Jail on Friday.

"Generally speaking, that’s a fair statement — illegal aliens are running the drug trade in Park City," Edmunds says.


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