- The Washington Times - Friday, August 31, 2001

Fifty-five persons were arrested yesterday in connection with a drug ring that sold tens of thousands of Ecstasy pills throughout Colorado, including one that killed a 16-year-old girl and others that found their way onto three military installations, including the Air Force Academy.
The arrests culminated a yearlong undercover investigation known as "Operation Green Clover" that targeted what Drug Enforcement Administration officials said was a primary source of the club drug in Colorado. The suspected dealers, arrested in Colorado and California, were named in indictments handed up by a federal grand jury in Denver and unsealed yesterday.
During the arrests, DEA agents armed with search warrants confiscated 85,000 Ecstasy pills, 2.5 kilograms of cocaine, 320 pounds of marijuana, 4,100 marijuana plants, 5 pounds of methamphetamine, 40,000 dosage units of LSD, 13 vehicles, 36 weapons and $1.36 million in cash.
"This remarkable effort highlights law enforcement's commitment to the safety of our children and young adults, and to bring to justice those individuals who wish to destroy the lives of their families and friends," said DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson, who was in Denver to announce the arrests.
"DEA will not rest in its effort to educate the citizens of this country about the deadly consequences of club drugs and how these drugs devastate dreams and promising futures," he said.
Three of those arrested — John D. Sposit, 26, of Lakewood, Colo., and Megan M. Schey, 24, and Shawn Sweeney, 20, both of Fort Collins, Colo. — were charged with knowingly distributing an Ecstasy pill to Brittney Chambers, a Boulder, Colo., teen-ager who died on her 16th birthday in January.
DEA authorities said Miss Chambers lapsed into a coma after taking one Ecstasy pill and died six days later. They said the pill had been purchased for her as a birthday gift.
"As Brittney's friends and family can tell you, Ecstasy is an agony," said Mr. Hutchinson.
The undercover investigation was named for an Ecstasy pill that is green and shaped like a clover. It was one of those pills that killed Miss Chambers.
Ecstasy is a stimulant that has hallucinogenic properties. It often is used by young people at all-night club parties known as raves, or at private parties. It is designed to suppress the need to eat, drink or sleep. The drug can cause loss of consciousness, seizures from heatstroke or heart failure, brain damage and death.
Mr. Sposit, along with Mark B. Merton, 29, of Aurora, Colo., and Vladislav Radosavljevic, 18, of Littleton, Colo., also were charged under the "Drug Kingpin" statute — accused of running a continuing criminal enterprise, which could result in a life sentence.
DEA authorities said some of the Ecstasy pills and other drugs were sold at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Peterson Air Force Base and Fort Carson Army Base.
They said one person was arrested at the Air Force Academy, with 12 others being expelled; one person was arrested at Peterson, with 17 others given courts-martial; and five persons were arrested at Fort Carson.
Mr. Hutchinson said undercover DEA agents traced the traffickers' supply of Ecstasy to manufacturers in the Netherlands. The pills generally cost from $9 to $25 each.
Mr. Hutchinson described the undercover operation as one of the largest linked to Ecstasy in the United States in terms of numbers of arrests, adding that two major drug-distribution organizations were dismantled and a third severely disrupted by the arrests.
"Ecstasy is the No. 1 drug problem among youths in urban areas. It has become their drug of choice," he said.
Mr. Hutchinson said more arrests are expected in the yearlong investigation.


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