FORT COLLINS, Colorado — A man has been arrested after spending more than six hours in the Poudre River trying to evade authorities, according to Fort Collins Police Services.
The incident began Thursday when members of the Neighborhood Engagement Team (NET) were patrolling an area where there have been multiple drug complaints from residents, the department said in a news release.
Officers discovered Michael Cortez, 31, who was wanted on seven warrants — four of which were felony warrants, according to the department. Cortez boarded a vehicle as a passenger and began exiting it, the department said.
At around 2:30 p.m., officers attempted to stop the vehicle at the 900 block of North Shields Street. Cortez reportedly got out of the vehicle and ran away with a backpack while officers gave chase.
According to Fort Collins police, Cortez jumped into the Poudre River and drifted downstream. According to the agency, he stood up in places where the river was shallow and walked with the current.
At some point, Cortez was separated from the backpack. Officers and members of the Poudre Fire Brigade salvaged it downstream from him.
According to the agency, the backpack contained 35 grams of methamphetamine.
According to the Fort Collins Police Department, Cortez swam almost to College Avenue and stood in waist-deep water in the middle of the river. He reportedly refused to surrender.
Members of the Poudre Fire Brigade threw several ropes at him to help him exit the river, but Cortez reportedly threw the ropes away and resisted the effort.
Fort Collins police deployed a drone to keep an eye on Cortez.
Several police teams including the SWAT team, the Criminal Impact Unit and members of the K9 team came to the rescue. Officers determined that entering the river was not safe due to the river’s temperature and flow rate, the Fort Collins Police Department said.
After spending more than six hours in the river and night falling, Cortez left the river and was taken into custody with the help of a K9, according to Fort Collins police.
Cortez was committed to the Larimer County Jail on the seven warrants and the following new charges:
- Distribution of a controlled substance
- resisting arrest
- Disability of a Peace Officer
- Failure or refusal to leave a building
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