White Trash. Stacker. Kid Rock. These are just some of the monikers that inspired law enforcers trying to bust a northern Colorado meth ring to brand their efforts "Operation Bad Nickname."
The two-phase sweep is still seeking ten suspects at this writing, including White Trash and Stacker; their real names haven't been made public yet. But Kid Rock -- Colorado's version, anyhow -- is in custody, along with around twenty of his alleged cohorts in a scheme that's already included seizure of meth worth at least $250,000. Photos and details below.
According to Longmont Police Commander Jeff Satur, the operation got underway "about six months ago, and we were on wire taps for about two months. To build a case to the point where you can get a wire tap, which is one of the most intrusive warrants out there, the courts require you to do a lot of things and eliminate a lot of other options before you can go that way. And once we did, we were able to listen to the phone calls and run out on the deals."
The investigation established the ring's leaders as Michael Kaiser (he's Kid Rock), Geraldine Vodicka (aka "Dom," Kaiser's wife), Ray Nieto, Richard Mora, Josue Aurelia-Castaneda and Terry "Bridge" Romero. This group was targeted in busts earlier this month, and Romero definitely didn't go quietly.
As noted by the Longmont Times-Call, Romero rabbited in a rented 2014 Mustang, only to eventually crash into a PT Cruiser in Aurora. Afterward, police searching the car reportedly found, a gun, a hypodermic, some heroin and a bag o' meth.
Plenty of other goodies were seized as well, as seen in the following photo:
"They were doing a lot of big meth deals," Satur allows. "They were doing one-pound deals, two-pound deals, three-pound deals. At one stop we did, we recovered almost three-and-a-half pounds of meth, which would go for somewhere in the $250,000 range, depending on how it's cut. A lot of people who sell also use, so they take their share, cut it with something to keep the weight the same, and then sell it to somebody else."
Yesterday, the Longmont police, assisted in the operation by a slew of other agencies, including the Larimer County Crime Impact Unit and the DEA, zeroed in on what are considered to be lower-level members of the ring -- among them "people who would buy the meth, then sell it around town," Satur says.
The bonds placed on individuals reflect the seriousness of the accusations against them. Romero and Kaiser are being held on $1,000,000 bonds, while those for Nieto, Vodicka, Mora and Aurelia-Castaneda were set at half that. In contrast, many of the people arrested yesterday were charged with simple possession, resulting in bonds of $2,500 or thereabouts.
With ten more people still wanted, Operation Bad Nickname isn't over yet. But already, Satur says, "this has been one of the largest cases we've ever investigated. The amount of meth we know they were moving in this area was substantial."
Here's a look at mug shots starring the majority of folks taken into custody thus far.
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More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Faces of Meth? Meet Steven Taylor and crew accused of stealing cars for crystal."