DougCo Sheriff warns vehicle thefts help power other crimes

Heather Willard

Heather Willard / NewsBreak Denver / Aug. 3, 2022

(Englewood, Colo.) Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies arrested a man on July 31 for various charges, including possession of fentanyl pills and obstructing a peace officer, stemming from a stolen vehicle report.

The case is not unusual, according to Sgt. Cocha Heyden, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office public information officer, who said in Douglas County stolen vehicles are usually connected to another crime.

“A lot of the stolen vehicles that we apprehend are more than just that — they do have guns inside, they do have drugs inside,” Heyden said. “Why are these people in Douglas County? They’re not in Douglas County to visit a buddy, they’re potentially here to commit more crimes, and it’s our job to make sure that we stop them.”

At about 12:15 a.m. July 31, night shift deputies responded to the 10,000 block of El Diente Place in the unincorporated area of Englewood for a stolen Ford Escape from Missouri. Deputies attempted to pin the vehicle in place between their cruisers, but a man entered the Ford and attempted to flee before the cruisers were in place.

According to Heyden, the Ford Escape collided with a cruiser, and the suspect attempted to flee on foot. He was apprehended and officers searched the vehicle to ensure no one else was inside.

No one else was found, but officers recovered a bag of methamphetamine and over 1,000 fentanyl pills, drug paraphernalia, two handguns and a modified short-body rifle. At least one gun was reported stolen.

Investigators identified Juan Elvira, 29, of Denver. He is being held with no bond in the Douglas County Detention Facility for an aggravated assault warrant issued by the Colorado Department of Corrections in a separate case.

Elvira was arrested on felony charges of:

  • Conspiracy to sell over 50 grams of fentanyl
  • Possession of a controlled substance
  • Motor vehicle theft
  • Three counts of possession of a weapon by a previous offender
  • Possession of a dangerous weapon

He also was arrested on misdemeanor charges of obstructing a peace officer, reckless endangerment and possession of drug paraphernalia.

“Our deputies are working extra hard, especially at night, making sure our community is safe,” Heyden said. “Thankfully, we have resources to be able to find these stolen vehicles, apprehend the suspects and then make sure no further crimes are committed.”

She noted these types of cases are common for DougCo deputies, and said the office maintains a no-tolerance stance on crime.

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Public safety reporter in DougCo, Denver metro. Previously: Pueblo Chieftain public safety reporter, Athens Messenger associate editor. Caffeine fiend, cat mom and lover of all things spooky.

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