Fire chief held in meth bust

Times Staff Writer

For Yuma Fire Chief Dan Lehman the future is looking bleak.

That is most likely due to the three-plus pounds of methamphetamine that was confiscated from Lehman's home in the late hours of Feb. 3 into the morning hours of Feb. 4.

"It was a substantial amount of methamphetamine," Eastern Colorado Plains Drug Task Force head Walter Page said of the bust.

Lehman, 43, and his girlfriend, Monica Vanatta, 42, were both arrested at Lehman's house in Yuma after investigations led by the Eastern Colorado Plains Drug Task Force pointed to Lehman's home as the source of methamphetamine after two individuals, one being John Kroskob of Fort Morgan, were arrested with meth after officers saw leave the house.

"One of my investigators was conducting surveillance in that area on another case," Page explained. "The investigator observed a vehicle leave the residence and head down Highway 34 into Washington County. We contacted Washington County sheriff's investigators who made contact with the vehicle for going 72 in a 65. Eventually we obtained consent for a vehicle search and located packages of methamphetamine."

Page then went to Washington County investigators with the information from Kroskob's arrest and sent another task force investigator to the residence which led to the second arrest with that person not identified.

Task Force members, who include officers from Morgan County Sheriff's office and Brush police, confiscated over three pounds of methamphetamine from Lehman's residence which Page estimates has a street value of more than $150,000.

"It was a good pop. We're happy to get that amount of a controlled substance off the streets," Page said.

Lehman is in police custody at this time.