Court dates slated for Gunnison men involved in drug bust

Several drug deals recorded at I Bar Ranch

By Mark Reaman

The two Gunnison men arrested in a major drug bust on September 1 will appear in court later this month. Bryan Wickenhauser is scheduled to be arraigned on September 26 while Nick Danni will appear in court on September 19.

Formal charges were filed Tuesday, September 12, in Gunnison County Court by 7th Judicial District assistant district attorney Jessica Waggoner. Wickenhauser and Danni are both facing a count of possession with intent to manufacture or distribute a controlled substance (cocaine) and a count listed as “special offender,” which is normally a designation given to defendants facing drug felonies under very serious circumstances. 

In this case, the charge states the two conspired to sell illegal narcotics. Defendants facing a special offender designation on Colorado drug crime charges means a heavier sentence upon conviction. The formal complaint filed September 12 charges that Danni was illegally selling narcotics between January 1, 2021 and September 1, 2023, while Wickenhauser is charged with selling cocaine between July 11, 2023 and September 1, 2023. 

The two were arrested September 1 after an ongoing investigation that was being conducted by the Gunnison police department, Colorado Bureau of Investigation and 7th Judicial Task Force that includes the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration). Both were charged with the felonies of illegal distribution of Schedule II narcotics and conspiracy to distribute illegal narcotics.

According to the official Affidavit for Arrest Warrant, police had been given information from several sources starting in early 2021 that Danni was selling narcotics in the Gunnison area. Police had found cocaine in Danni’s possession in both 2022 and 2023 during unrelated police matters. Police obtained a court order on June 14 of this year allowing them to track Danni through his cell phone. According to the investigating officers, the cell phone tracking indicated there were several times Danni was at or near the Wickenhauser residence or at the I Bar Ranch outside of business hours. Wickenhauser is the operator of the I Bar Ranch entertainment venue.

Investigators used undercover officers to attend concerts at the I Bar this summer and attempt to purchase narcotics. The warrant states that officers successfully conducted transactions involving cocaine and Psilocybin Mushrooms during concerts. Officers said Wickenhauser sold cocaine totaling just over five grams to two different undercover officers at the August 6 Uncle Kracker concert.

Similar transactions involving Wickenhauser, Danni and undercover officers also occurred August 11 during the KBUT campout. Those transactions were recorded either on audio tape or with video and Wickenhauser is accused of selling 3.6 grams of cocaine to an undercover officer at that event. Danni is accused of selling 1.2 grams of cocaine on the same day. Both are accused of conspiring to sell cocaine at I Bar events.

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