The Kmart theft case is notable for the sheer magnitude of the alleged crime, but it also represents a milestone in Moffat County District Court.
The felony case against Ambrocio Nunez Estrada bears the case number 2003 CR-200. It alleges he stole thousands of dollars in merchandise from the store while he was employed as a night janitor.
Filed Tuesday, the case is the 200th felony case in Moffat County in 2003.
During Estrada's advisement hearing, Judge Mary Lynne James found the case number notable.
"I have not seen the number 200 on a Moffat County case file before," James said.
"These are felonies," James said, making the distinction that the total caseload, which includes misdemeanor and civil cases, has been far larger. "And some of them are really big felonies. It's not just your bad check stuff."
Thirty-three percent more felonies were filed through October 2003 than in the same period in 2002, and 45 percent more than in 2001.
Fortunately, violent crimes have played a small role in the upswing, Chief Deputy District Attorney Dave Waite said earlier this year when he spoke about the high felony caseload.
One notable exception was a case involving Sandra Moore, suspected in the March 20 shooting of her former boyfriend, Ron Wyatt. Moore was charged with attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault, and prohibited use of a weapon. Moore's case will be heard by a Moffat County jury April 19.
Cases involving drugs were much more prevalent, Waite said.
A drug raid in April resulted in charges against at least six suspects.
Benito Gomez-Medrano, the suspected "ringleader" of the group, pleaded guilty to possession and distribution of methamphetamine. He was sentenced in October to eight years in prison.
Roberto Loya received an 18-month prison sentence in October after he pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine.
Luis Alcantar-Burciaga pleaded guilty in October to attempted possession of cocaine and got an eight-month prison sentence.
Anthony Rossi pleaded guilty to possession of narcotics and was sentenced in July to 90 days in jail and four years probation.
Ignacio Rodriguez pleaded guilty in November to possession of methamphetamine in an agreement that guarantees he will not receive more than a four-year prison sentence.
Vicente Gomez-Medrano pleaded guilty to possession and distribution of methamphetamine. He will be sentenced Dec. 30.
Chris Brown's Sandrock Drive home was raided in January, resulting in numerous drug charges. Brown took the case to trial in November and was acquitted distribution charges. However, he was found guilty of possessing methamphetamine and possession chemicals and supplies to manufacture the drug. He also was convicted of cultivating and possessing marijuana, and possessing drug paraphernalia. Brown will be sentenced Jan. 9.
Police arrested Charlotte Corral at her Washington Street home Nov. 20 after a search of the residence uncovered more than 10 grams of cocaine, more than nine ounces of marijuana and a small amount of methamphetamine. Corral will be advised of the charges Dec. 9.
Three non-resident bond agents were charged with felony trespassing and criminal impersonation after they attempted to apprehend a suspect at a Shadow Mountain home in February. Clara Goins, Michael Armstrong and Michael Coleman also face charges of third-degree assault related to the incident. Their cases will be heard at a March 25 jury trial.
Don Manley was charged a second time with the felony of violating bail bond conditions after he skipped his sentencing hearings on two different felony cases. Manley was released on a personal recognizance bond a month before his September sentencing hearings. He faced six years in prison for criminal mischief in excess of $15,000, to which he had pleaded guilty. Police in Texas apprehended Manley, and he was returned to Moffat County. He will be sentenced on the old charges Jan. 9 and will enter a plea to the new charge Dec. 16.
For the moment, things appear to be slowing down, according to a Craig Police report released Thursday. Police responded to 982 incidents in November, which is down from the record-setting July total of 1297 incidents.
Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org