The Teller Narcotics Team arrested John Bruce Fifield, Jr., 47, Nov. 21, after he was suspected of distributing marijuana laced with methamphetamine to a student at the Woodland Park High School.
The team acted on a tip from the school resource officers who said the student tested positive for the drug, a result of a free testing kit the parents received from the high school.
“We found the source of this marijuana/meth and obtained a search warrant for Fifield’s residence at 60 Overlook Circle in Sedalia,” said Teller County Commander Greg Couch.“We found multiple types of illegal narcotics.”
Among the narcotics was marijuana that tested positive for methamphetamine.
During the investigation, which began with the Woodland Park Police Department, the student had no contact with the source. “We knew the child was safe because the mother was cooperative,” Couch said.
For the narcotics team, the case was out-of-the-ordinary. “I’ve been in law enforcement for 26 years and to me this is shocking,” Couch said. “As a parent, this is horrifying that a drug of this type might have been introduced into the school.”
The case is still under investigation. “We’re not going to let anybody rob our children of a safe environment in our schools, or anywhere else,” Couch said.
The arrest was the first for the Teller County Narcotics Team. “This is a new team set up in September and we’ve been doing advanced surveillance and under-cover narcotics training,” Couch said.
The narcotics team represents the police departments of Cripple Creek, under Chief Mike Rulo, and Woodland Park, under Chief Miles DeYoung, as well as the sheriff’s office under Sheriff Jason Mikesell.
“We have two deputies attached to federal agencies so that we can get the resources when we need them,” Couch said. “We have good relationships with those agencies — and the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) helped us with this as well.”
As of Friday, only one student has been identified with a connection to the drug. “This is the initial phase of the investigation and we’re continuing to do interviews of possible witnesses and victims,” Couch said.
During the arrest, the team discovered a small marijuana cultivation in the house Fifield rented. “That wasn’t the issue — it appeared that he had some sort of process where methamphetamine was infused into the marijuana,” Couch said. “Just looking at it, we couldn’t tell.”
At this point in the investigation the team has not found a connection between Fifield and a drug cartel, Couch said.
Fifield has been charged with:
1. Unlawful distribution, manufacturing, dispensing, and/or selling illegal narcotics, a Class I felony
2. Unlawful possession of a controlled substance, a Class 4 felony
3. Contributing to the delinquency of a minor, class 4 felony
4. Child abuse, a Class 1 felony
5. Possessing a dangerous or illegal weapon, a Class I misdemeanor.
“Our position here at the sheriff’s office is that an act like this will not go unpunished in this community,” Couch said. “Because this is not who we are.”
The new superintendent, Steve Woolf, is equally firm. “At school we are dealing severely with the consequences and the discipline,” Woolf said last week. “We are not soft-pedaling this at all — it’s part of the deal. If the kid knew what was in it, we have to deal with that. We’ve got to do the right thing as far as keeping drugs out of the school.”
As of last week Fifield was still in jail. “One good thing is that the guy is put away,” Woolf said. “We love that.”
Fifield has a hearing and advisement with Judge Lin Billings-Vela at 9 a.m. Monday in the Teller County Courthouse.
The school resource officers are Tim Bradley, Greg Geiman and Shannon Everhart.