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| Crime |

Operation Fortune Cookie: Adams County Sheriff Doug Darr calls lawsuit "a collection of false accusations and lies"

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This past Monday, when Westword started making calls about a lawsuit that had just been filed by two former North Metro Task Force members alleging they faced retaliation for speaking out about corruption that occurred in Operation Fortune Cookie, a massive indoor weed bust, the case was so new that most of the task force leadership had yet to read the lawsuit and were reluctant to comment on it.

Now, however, Adams County Sheriff Doug Darr, a member of the Board of Governors that oversees the task force, has had a chance to peruse the suit and has a few choice words to say about it: "I've never seen such a collection of false accusations and lies in my life."

Darr admits that he hasn't had contact with the two officers who filed the lawsuit -- Northglenn Detective Daniel Joyce and Thornton Detective Robert Lopez. He also notes that the three officers his department has assigned to the task force weren't directly involved with Operation Fortune Cookie, which targeted prominent restaurateur Dan Tang. But as Darr puts it, "The fact of the matter is, I know what we did as a governing board, I know what actions we took and I know that the accusations in the lawsuit aren't true."

For example, Joyce and Lopez allege in their lawsuit that task force superiors told them and their North Metro colleagues that they shouldn't cooperate with an internal investigation that had been launched by the DEA to uncover a suspected snitch within the investigation. According to the suit, some task force supervisors stopped working with the DEA altogether.

Never happened, says Darr: "We've had good relations with the Drug Enforcement Administration for a long time, and we are still working with the Drug Enforcement Administration."

The sheriff says the task force does take such allegations seriously. Case in point: When Joyce and Lopez first made their concerns officially known via formal complaints lodged against their police departments and the task force, Darr says, "We made a formal request of the FBI to look into the issues."

When asked on Monday, FBI spokesman Dave Joly said he could neither confirm nor deny an investigation into misconduct at North Metro. If FBI agents are looking into the task force, they surely won't be getting any ambiguity on the matter from Sheriff Darr.

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