Investigative Update: Five Fentanyl-Related Fatalities in Commerce City on February 20, 2022
Brighton, CO —Today, the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and District Attorney Brian Mason are providing an update on the investigation into the five fentanyl-related deaths that occurred in Commerce City on Sunday, February 20, 2022, at the Northrange Apartments along 104th Avenue.
"On February 20, 2022, our community became the latest example of the unrelenting toll fentanyl is taking on communities across the country. That night five of our residents died from fentanyl poisoning in one of the largest mass incidents of this sort in the United States.
In the aftermath of these tragic deaths, law enforcement agencies from across the 17th Judicial District, our region, and our state banded together to investigate and seek out the source of the drugs that led to this horrific event.
The Commerce City Police Department, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Colorado, the North Metro Drug Task Force, and members of my team from the District Attorney's Office followed numerous leads, reviewed surveillance video, conducted countless interviews, obtained and evaluated cell phone data, utilized DNA, and exhausted every possible piece of evidence that might lead to the source of the fentanyl that caused these deaths.
Unfortunately, after six months of this intense undertaking, the evidence that exists today has not and will not lead us to an arrest or the filing of a charged case. We will continue to investigate any new leads that may come in.
My heart goes out to the families and friends of those who died in this tragic incident in February. I want to thank all of the law enforcement agencies who spent hours investigating these deaths.
Addressing the fentanyl crisis is a collaborative effort and continues to be a top priority for all of us."
Media wishing to speak to DA Brian Mason in person and/or on-camera today (September 14, 2022) is asked to arrive at our Brighton Office at 1000 Judicial Center Drive, Brighton, CO, 80601 for a 2:00pm press briefing.
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District Attorney Mason assumed the oath of office on January 12, 2021. The 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office endeavors to seek justice on behalf of the citizens of Adams and Broomfield counties in felony and misdemeanor cases. DA Mason and his staff are dedicated to transforming the criminal justice system to better serve the citizens of the 17th Judicial District.
Ms. Gazelka is a forensic therapist and clinician in Denver, Colorado. She is currently focused on providing therapy and assessment services to adult offenders in the community corrections and parole systems as a supervisor at Correctional Psychology Associates (CPA). Her education and career have been devoted to the intersection of psychology and law since 2000. Ms. Gazelka has been working within the field of forensic and correctional psychology since 2006, providing therapy in the community and acute mental health care and risk assessments in county jails. She has practiced as a Licensed Professional Counselor since June 2012. She also became a Licensed Addiction Counselor in March 2014. She was listed as a full operating level DVOMB Approved Provider in June 2019 and started a fledgling DV program oriented to Colorado’s Department of Corrections at CPA in September 2019. Ms. Gazelka was appointed to the Domestic Violence Offender Management Board (DVOMB) in March 2019 and has started her second term with the board. Ms. Gazelka has been recognized for her work as Contributor of the Year at CPA in 2010 and 2012, as well as having been awarded an Alumni Impact Award for her forensic work in the community by University of Denver’s GSPP in 2019. Ms. Gazelka received her Master of Arts degree in Forensic Clinical Psychology from University of Denver's Graduate School of Professional Psychology in 2009. Ms. Gazelka also received her Juris Doctorate from William Mitchell College of Law in 2007, obtaining attorney’s licenses in both Minnesota and Colorado (currently inactive).
Alex Castro Croy
Alex Castro Croy is a bilingual, bicultural, Trauma and Addiction Counselor and owner/Lead Clinician of Life Recovery Centers in Denver and Northglenn Colorado.
A first-generation immigrant from Mexico who accomplished his dream in higher education receiving an AA in Pastoral Ministry (Dallas, Texas), Bachelor of Science in Human Services (MSU in Denver, Colorado) and MA in Community Counseling from Regis University (Denver, Co). He is continuing to pursue his MA/Ph.D. from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Jungian and Archetypal Studies.
Alex’s passion includes training, teaching, counseling, and consulting. He has been an Adjunct Professor for the Human Services Department at MSU-Denver for 9 years. He has served as an Interventionist for the Latino GLBTQ community, Drug Court Probation Officer at Denver Juvenile Court Probation (8 years), Bilingual Diversion Officer for Denver DA office (5 years), and currently owner and director of Life Recovery Centers (7 years). He has worked with a variety of clients from all walks of life and his eclectic therapeutic interventions have proven to be effective in treating trauma and addiction.
Thea Wessel is an addictions counselor with a private practice in Colorado. She has been working in the criminal and addiction fields for thirteen years. Ms. Wessel earned her Masters in forensic psychology from the University of Denver and has her LPC, LAC, MAC, NCAAC, and ADS. She is working towards her Ph.D. in Transpersonal Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Ms. Wessel continually challenges herself and others to provide quality addiction treatment and ways to continue to educate the community about addiction issues.