Editor’s note: The names of the family involved in seeking a restraining order in a local drug case have not been used at their request and for confidentiality reasons.
RANGELY I Threats to kill her son only strengthened a local mom’s resolve to see justice done.
The woman and her husband sat in the courtroom Friday at the Rio Blanco County Courthouse when a judge issued a restraining order against John Parks.
Parks was arrested May 16 in Rangely and charged with retaliation against a witness and menacing.
Sgt. Roy Kinney, Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s investigator, said after Park’s arrest, “He showed up at the house of someone he believes was involved in undercover activity and threatened to kill him.”
But Parks has been free on bond, and the mother of the person who was threatened said she didn’t think recent acts of vandalism against her son’s vehicle were a coincidence.
“Two weeks ago, all six of my son’s tires (on a dually pickup) were slashed,” the mom said. “They used a knife on the driver side and an ice pick on the passenger side. They put ’em through the sidewall, which they knew would ruin the tires.”
Then last week, rocks were used to break a passenger window on the driver side of the same pickup.
“Another time John Parks (on June 19) was in front of my house, walking by, making eye contact, to make sure I saw him,” the mom said. “He had a couple of guys and a couple of girls with him.”
The mom said she had been under the impression there was a restraining order against Parks to not come near her son. It turns out there wasn’t.
“I thought the protection order (was in effect) when the tires were slashed,” the mom said. “Come to find out, there was not a protection order put in place when he (Parks) was bonded out. Nobody knows why, which is frustrating.”
“I’m not sure where that slip-up happened,” Jay Barasch, deputy district attorney, said. “There should have been one from the start. I’m not sure how he was released without a restraining order being in place.”
The mom called authorities to report when Parks was in front of the family’s house.
“I was told there’s no protection order in place. I don’t understand that,” the mom continued. “Somebody can threaten to kill somebody, and there’s no protection order in place? It doesn’t make any sense. Roy (Sgt. Kinney) was upset. He said he didn’t know what happened, and neither does anybody else.”
There is a restraining order in effect, as of Friday’s hearing.
“(The judge) said there is one in place now,” the mom said. “He told John Parks these are extremely serious charges, and he told him and his friends they can not be within 100 yards of me, my husband or my son. The judge said if anything happens, you tell the police.
“We sat a couple of rows behind (Parks at the hearing),” the mom said. “He seemed very surprised to see me and my husband. I wouldn’t have been in court, if they hadn’t done anything (to threaten her son). Luciano Madrid was in court at the same time. His son came in and glared at me. I just looked right back at him.”
Madrid was arrested in April in an undercover operation in Rangely and charged with possession of methaphetamine and selling it. Madrid was arrested after selling methaphetamine to a confidential informant. His case was continued Friday to allow time for a plea agreement to be explained to him using an interpreter, Barasch, deputy district attorney, said.
“The deal we’re looking at would involve prison time,” Barasch said. “The next hearing will be July 17. If he accepts it, we would enter the plea at that date, but I don’t know if he will accept it.”
Authorities believe Madrid and Parks are connected.
“As far as we can tell, yeah, we can connect them,” Sgt. Kinney said after Parks’ arrest.
“I told the judge, I think they are making a point of, we’re not done,” the mom said. “He (the judge) was emphatic that (Parks) and his friends better not do anything. He’s still out on bond, as far as I know.”
The mother had an opportunity to speak during the hearing, despite objections from Parks’ attorney, she said.
“I told the judge I am scared to death for my son,” the mom said. “This guy threatened to kill my son, and I believe he would do it.”
Because of the threats made against their son, it has been a difficult time for the family.
“It’s been kind of rough here lately,” the mom said. “I’ve been up every night for the last week or two, trying to catch ’em. I told the judge my son is scared to go anywhere. I told the judge this is our town, we were born and raised here, he (Parks) wasn’t.”
The mom said her son has been called a “narc.”
“He just wants to be left alone,” the mom said. “It would be really nice to feel things are back to normal. But every time he walks out of the house, I’m worried. I just pray for him.”
The mom said her son and Parks had worked together on the pipeline. She said she has noticed a change for the worst, as far as Rangely’s drug problem, with the influx of workers associated with the recent energy boom.
“It’s absolutely huge,” the mom said of the local drug problem. “I think the citizens all need to band together and say enough is enough, because this is our town and we want to clean it up.
“But people are scared something is going to happen,” the mom said. “This used to be a great neighborhood. It started going downhill big time when the pipeline came in. We’ve always had drugs, but not like this.
“I love my family, I love my friends, and I love my town, but I hate what it’s become,” the mom said. “Everybody wants the pipeline to come in, because it’s a boom, but welcome to the boom. That’s what you get.
“I’ve been here for 41 years (in Rangely), and I can’t believe the changes,” the mom continued. “Honestly, it just breaks my heart. I’ve talked to other townspeople who have been here a long time who feel exactly the same way I do. We’re going to stand up and we’re going to have to be the ones who get ’em out of here.”
Meanwhile, this local mother will do what she can to protect her family and hope the legal system works.
“I know (the restraining order) is just a piece of paper, and if they are bound and determined, nothing’s going to stop ’em,” she said. “But I do feel better that at least I have something to stand on.”