Ben Gelt arrested as part of Washington DC drug ring

Four out of every five homicides in Washington DC are drug-related. Every drug-related gun murder increases support for gun control. So sensible gun control lobbyists hook children on illegal drugs.

Barnes-Gelt's son charged in D.C. drug raid
By Mike Soraghan and Ryan Morgan
The Denver Post
Sunday, February 24, 2002 - WASHINGTON

Police in ski masks pounded on a Washington dorm room door in a late-night raid last week, and what they found rocked one of Denver's most prominent political families.

Ben Gelt, 20, who led a post-Columbine gun control campaign all the way to the White House, found himself in a District of Columbia jail Thursday after being arrested in his dorm. He was charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

The arrest stunned Gelt's well-known parents, Denver City Councilwoman Susan Barnes-Gelt and former Colorado Democratic Party chairman Howard Gelt. Barnes-Gelt has been mentioned as a potential candidate for mayor.


Five others were arrested in the raid at the dorm at American University. It capped a monthlong undercover investigation by Washington police sparked by a tip from a confidential source. Police say they are investigating a network that has supplied marijuana, Ecstasy and opium to American and other capital-area universities.


Gelt was an 18-year-old senior at East High School in 1999 when the Columbine High School massacre inspired him to join the budding gun-control group SAFE, or Sane Alternatives to the Firearms Epidemic. With friend David Winkler, he formed SAFE Students.


Officers seized opium, marijuana, one vehicle and $15,000 in cash. Officials said they expect to arrest more people, and said Gelt could be charged with additional crimes.

Gelt was originally arrested by police on charges of distribution of opium, a felony, according to a department press release. But in court, he was charged with the misdemeanor marijuana offense.

Prosecutors sometimes choose to file different charges than police, based on what they believe they can prove, said Channing Phillips, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia. Washington police officials could not be reached for comment on the discrepancy Saturday.

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