Jared Howard Allegedly Lures Texas Pals to Colorado for Pot Trafficking Bust

There are an infinite number of ways that a person can become a Schmuck of the Week.

And Jared Howard appears to have found a new twist on an old favorite: squealing.

The 23-year-old Texas college student was caught with a car full of marijuana while in Colorado — after which he seems to have gone many extra miles to make sure two fellow students from the Lone Star state shared his fate.

How so? After his arrest, Howard reportedly convinced Rafael Villegas-Perez, 20, and Stephen Martin-Emge, 23, to come to Colorado to help him move the weed — at which point they were busted, too.

The story comes to us from the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, which notes that on Friday, June 10, Howard was pulled over on Interstate 70 not far from the Western Slope community of Fruita after he failed to signal while executing a lane change in a rental car.

According to an arrest affidavit accessed by the Sentinel, the trooper who spoke with Howard thought he seemed nervous — and when he was asked for permission to search the vehicle, he turned his thumb down.

The trooper responded by calling in a drug dog, who perked up after getting a whiff of something extremely aromatic — 65 pounds of marijuana contained in a duffel bag. Also found: two handguns.

That was more than enough for Howard to be taken into custody. But rather than clamming up, he's said to have waived his right to consult with an attorney and agreed to help law enforcement nail his alleged compatriots, Villegas-Perez and Martin-Emge.

At the law enforcers' encouragement, the affidavit says, Howard used phone calls and texts to ask the pair to come to Grand Junction, the largest city in the vicinity, to help him transport the pot back to Texas.

They agreed — and upon their arrival at the GJ airport on Saturday, June 11, they were met by reps from the Colorado State Patrol, as well as the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

Possible charges for Villegas-Perez and Martin-Emge include felony conspiracy to possess, sell or distribute more than fifty pounds of marijuana. And Howard could face possession with intent — although the hammer may not come down quite so hard, given his level of cooperation.

We're guessing the cops are happy he reached out and touched the other twosome. But presumably they'd endorse his nomination as Schmuck of the Week.

Here are the booking photos for all three.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.