BOULDER — Members of a drug ring known as The Brotherhood wanted to control methamphetamine sales in Longmont and were willing to torture people to do it, police testified Tuesday.
William Norem and Dustin Anglesey are the only two of six defendants who opted to hear prosecutors’ evidence against them in a preliminary hearing that started Tuesday and may last until Thursday.
Boulder District Judge Carol Glowinsky will then decide if there is enough evidence for Norem and Anglesey to stand trial on the charges.
Police broke up the group in mid-July with the arrests of Mario Primaveri, Norem, Anglesey, Elizabeth McKee, Kevin Forest and Nicholas Delgado. McKee waived her right to a preliminary hearing last week, while Forest, 29, and Delgado, 19, are expected to do so later this week.
Primaveri, the accused ringleader, was found Aug. 16 to be incompetent to stand trial and committed to the state mental hospital in Pueblo. The 55-year-old man suffered severe head injuries July 21 during a suicide attempt at the Boulder County Jail.
Blake Bernal, who now lives in Florida, was one whom Primaveri tortured because he suspected Bernal was a snitch, said Longmont Police Detective Darren Bloom.
Bernal visited Primaveri’s house at 1702 Centennial Drive twice — once with a friend, once alone — in late January or early February, Bloom said. When he arrived the second time, Norem, 38, locked him inside the house, and Primaveri aimed a shotgun at Bernal’s head, Bloom testified.
Primaveri tied Bernal, who is now 21, to a chair, repeatedly accused him of being a snitch and fired a .45-caliber pistol into the floor next to Bernal’s foot, Bloom said. Bernal was held in the basement for several days, during which McKee shocked him with a cattle prod, Bloom said.
Either Primaveri or Norem took $80 cash and a gift card from Bernal’s belongings while he was being held in the basement, Bloom said.
Bernal was afraid either he or his family would be killed if he left, as Primaveri told him the group had killed people, Bloom said. Bernal was allowed to leave after Primaveri determined he was not a snitch, Bloom said.
“He told me he was there for about a week, and he felt he was forced to stay there for about three days,” Bloom said. On cross-examination, Bloom said he did not know why Bernal did not leave as soon as he felt it was safe to do so.
Anglesey, 31, is accused of cutting off McKee’s hair in October or November because he thought she had stolen checks from his employer’s checkbook, said Longmont Police Detective Tim Miller.
McKee, 24, told Miller that Anglesey, Delgado and Forest forced their way into a friend’s apartment, where McKee was staying.
Anglesey was armed with a .45-caliber handgun, Delgado with a stun gun and Forest with some sort of accelerant and a lighter; the trio forced everyone except McKee into the kitchen, Miller testified.
Under Anglesey’s orders, Delgado searched McKee extensively.
“She described it as almost a strip-search,” Miller said. Once, Anglesey held the gun to her head and McKee closed her eyes, expecting to be shot, Miller said. Instead, Forest burned the right side of her body with the makeshift torch, the detective said. Forest also used the stun gun on her, Miller said.
Cutting McKee’s hair — about 12 inches of it — was more traumatic for her, Miller said, because she had vowed not to cut it after her father died earlier last year.
Norem and Anglesey could face life in prison if they are convicted of first-degree kidnapping and conspiracy to commit first-degree kidnapping, class 1 felonies. They also are charged with aggravated robbery, conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, using a stun gun, extortion, felony menacing and conspiring to distribute methamphetamine.
McKee is charged with first-degree kidnapping, second-degree kidnapping, aggravated robbery, conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, use of a stun gun and felony menacing. When she waived her right to a preliminary hearing, her attorney, Patrick Butler, said an agreement has been reached with prosecutors, but it was not disclosed. She is scheduled for arraignment Oct. 21.
Victoria Camron can be reached at 303-684-5226, or by e-mail at email@example.com.