Officials cite drug debt in 20-year-old cold case

The Associated Press /


Published Feb 26, 2012 at 04:00AM / Updated Nov 19, 2013 at 12:31AM

CANYON CITY — A drug debt and a killing for hire were at the heart of a 20-year-old case that has led to the arrests of two men in the past week, authorities and murder indictments allege.

The two men are accused in the slaying of Danny Sweet, who was staying with friends in the small town Mitchell in Wheeler County when he disappeared in 1992 at age 36.

In January 1996, two teenagers looking for antlers on a remote patch of rangeland found what Grant County District Attorney Ryan Joslin calls “near fully intact skeletal remains.”

Dental records confirmed the remains were those of Sweet, and the medical examiner declared his death a homicide.

The Oregonian said the investigation followed leads in Oregon, Idaho and Nevada, and investigators in the past two years narrowed the case, which went to the grand jury earlier this month.

Joslin told the newspaper that investigators believe Sweet owed “drug-related debts” to George Bogan, who lived in Prineville at the time.

Indictments handed up Feb. 7 allege that Bogan, now 46, solicited and paid, or agreed to pay, Thomas Colbert, now 51, to kill Sweet.

Sweet’s remains were found in an area surrounded by ranchland owned by Colbert’s family, Joslin said.

Bogan and Colbert are charged with murder and aggravated murder, which could bring the death penalty.

Colbert was arrested Friday in Indian Springs, Nev., where he lives, and he faces extradition to Oregon.

Bogan was arrested Tuesday afternoon during a traffic stop near his Roseburg home and was jailed in Douglas County until he’s transferred to Grant County.

Calls to determine whether either man has an attorney were not immediately returned Thursday.