It’s been five months since law enforcement searched the home and property of former Montezuma County commissioner Larrie Rule as part of an auto theft investigation. A few weeks ago, law enforcement officials told the media more information would be released May 1 but have backed off the date.
So far no charges have been filed or arrests have been made in the case, which is being investigated by the Colorado State Patrol and a state auto-theft task force.
“It is still an ongoing, active investigation; however all of the information on the case remains sealed under court order to preserve the integrity of the investigation,” stated Colorado State Patrol Sergeant Mike Baker April 22. “No arrests have been made in the case as far as I know.”
He said more information was expected to be made public by April 30 or May 1. However, since then, the CSP had no response to queries regarding the case.
The case was sealed by the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Montezuma County under former DA Russell Wasley. A CSP spokesperson said current District Attorney Will Furse met with investigators to discuss the case in April. Furse said he could not comment on the case, other to add that “it is not going away.”
According to the 7th Judicial District Attorney’s office in Montrose, the case is being reviewed for assignment to a special prosecutor because Rule was a county commissioner at the time of the search of his property. Now that Rule is not a public official, it could be handled by the 22nd Judicial District Attorney in Cortez.
“Nothing has been filed in my court,” Furse said. “Generally, felony cases take a long time to gather information.”
CSP Sgt. Baker agreed, and added that the long investigation is fairly typical in auto-theft cases, especially in a region like the Four Corners where multiple jurisdictions across state borders complicate matters. However, he would not confirm that the case involved additional counties or states beyond Colorado.
“The scope and scale of the investigative operation takes time to connect to people,” he said.
Information on the number of suspects in the case, if criminal charges have been filed, whether additional properties were searched, and if stolen vehicles were found at the Rule property was also not made available.
A search warrant for Larrie Rule’s home and property on County Road L was carried out over a three-day period beginning Dec. 12, 2012. The Colorado State Patrol and the Beat Auto Theft Through Law Enforcement (BATTLE) task force are the lead investigators in the case, and were assisted by local law enforcement during the search.
Witnesses reported seeing 13 law enforcement vehicles during the search of the property located at 26184 Road L, just north of Cortez.
According to the Denver Post, onlookers also reported observing sheriff deputies driving away two cement mixers from Rule’s property. The site is also the home-based location of Rule Trucking.
Rule served as a Montezuma County commissioner for two, four-year terms between 2004 and 2012 and was term limited. His wife, Pat DeGagne-Rule, campaigned for the Republican nomination for her husband’s commissioner seat, but was unsuccessful. She was formerly the head of the local Republican party.
Attempts to contact the Rules went unanswered.