Helper PD, FBI arrest suspects in savings bonds investigation

With my career in community newspapers, crime reporting usually sticks to local officials and local courts. This was my first experience working with federal-level courts.

By Les Bowen for Sun Advocate   |   March 1, 2007   |   Original source

Law enforcement personnel arrested five passengers on an AMTRAK train last week in Helper.

The arrestees were all from outside the state and ranged from 24 to 42 years old.

Helper Police Chief George Zamantakis explained that a few minutes before 10 a.m. on Feb. 19, the local law enforcement department was dispatched to a report of unruly passengers who were harassing other passengers and using controlled substances.

Zamantakis was the first to respond to the scene. After starting an investigation into the matter, the Helper police chief requested the services of city K-9 Brooke and K-9 Officer Lynn Archuletta.

“K-9 Brooke was deployed on some luggage that belonged to the suspects in which she indicated on the same,” said Zamantakis.

After further investigation at the scene, Helper law enforcement officers determined that the five passengers were using suspected controlled substances while on the train, indicated the police chief.

After inspecting the luggage, police discovered suspected marijuana and approximately $700,000 in United States savings bonds.

Upon discovering the bonds, police contacted the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation to assist in the case.

Zamantakis said approximately 15 officers from the Utah Highway Patrol, the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office and Price police department also responded to assist at the AMTRAK station.

All of the officers with Helper’s police department assisted in the case, added Zamantakis.

“Cases such as this one take many hours and manpower to investigate,” said the Helper police chief.

Zamantakis pointed out that the case demonstrated the value of many hours of training by Archuletta and the city’s K-9. The chief said the police dog has been an asset to both the department and residents of Helper.

John Wright, a supervisor at the FBI office in Provo confirmed Wednesday that the savings bonds appear to have been stolen from the Sparks area in Nevada.

Wright said law enforcement authorities in Nevada are working on the case with FBI Special Agent Todd Argyle.

Court documents filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Salt Lake City indicate that the bonds were reportedly taken as part of a burglary in Nevada in which a safe – containing jewelry, valuable coins, deeds cash and bonds – was allegedly unlawfully removed from an unidentified individual’s private residence.

Twenty-four-old Johnny Raymond, 31-year-old Danny Leo, 37-year-old Dino Mitchell, 42-year-old Tony Mitchell and 31-year-old Shawn Mitchell were placed under arrest and booked into the Carbon County Jail in connection with the Feb. 19 incident.