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Pat Sullivan investigation into sex-for-meth trades began almost a year ago

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In recent days, embattled KHOW radio host Tom Martino has taken much of the credit for breaking the Pat Sullivan sex-for-meth story thanks to interviews with meth-user sources conducted by his producer, Jonathan Elinoff. Turns out, though, that local cops didn't need the Troubleshooter to bring Sullivan's alleged actions to their attention.

The news comes courtesy of CBS4, a station that once employed Martino. According to investigator Brian Maass, the West Metro Drug Task Force actually set up a sting operation in January with the goal of catching Sullivan in the act of purchasing drugs. But although Sullivan was followed to the scene, he didn't get out of his car to complete the buy.

Why did a followup sting wait for the better part of a year? Jefferson County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Jacki Kelley, who also spoke with Maass, provides the details.

"We were working with a confidential informant [also known as a CI]," she notes, "and we started an investigation and tried to pursue the case. But then we lost our CI -- literally lost him. He dropped off the face of the earth, and we couldn't find him. I don't know what his status is even now."

As a result, Kelley continues, "we weren't able to further our investigation, and what we had at that point wasn't file-able or prosecutable."

Not that members of the task force simply shrugged off the case. "They turned the information over to the South Metro Drug Task Force very early on -- January or February, I think. And they may have also shared it with more local task forces, too."

This action demonstrates, in Kelley's view, that Sullivan didn't receive any favoritism as a result of his long and distinguished career as Arapahoe County sheriff. "There was none whatsoever," she stresses. "That's why everything was so clearly documented. We pursued the case as much as we could, and we shared information with other task forces to make sure we weren't working in a vacuum."

Look below to see CBS4's report.

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More from our Shmuck of the Week archive: "Pat Sullivan's fall from sheriff to shmuck makes for a disturbing story."

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