No deal for accused meth dealer

Prosecutors were unable to reach a plea deal Tuesday with a Craig man charged with distributing methamphetamine.

Jay Chris--topher Vatalaro, 25, of Craig is charged with possession with the intent to sell meth, a Class 3 felony, and possession of more than 1 ounce of meth.

Vatalaro had a preliminary hearing scheduled for Tuesday afternoon in Moffat County Court, but the hearing was pushed back more than an hour while Vatalaro's attorney and prosecutors tried to work out a deal.

No deal was reached, and Vatalaro later waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

His next hearing was scheduled for Jan. 30 in district court.

Amy Fitch, Chief Deputy Dis--trict Attorney, said prosecutors would continue trying to reach a deal with Vatalaro's attorney.

Vatalaro had been in Moffat County Jail since his arrest in November, but on Tuesday, he posted a $50,000 bond and was released.

Judge Mary Lynne James said Tuesday that Vatalaro must sign up for regular drug tests at Correctional Alternative Place--ment Services in Craig.

The judge told Vatalaro he likely would be tested for meth every three days.

After bonding out, Vatalaro will be allowed to drink alcohol, something he specifically asked the judge about at Tuesday's hearing.

Narcotics officers arrested Vatalaro on distribution charges in November. The charges allege officers found him in a storage shed at his home in Craig with more than 1 ounce of meth and more than 1 ounce of marijuana.

Two other people were arrested in the storage shed with Vatalaro, but distribution charges against them were dropped.

Vatalaro's criminal record lists numerous drug offenses, but most are for alcohol infractions.

In 2002, Vatalaro had two meth charges against him dismissed.

After Tuesday's hearing, Vat--alaro's girlfriend, Catherine Knight, said the couple was evicted from their home as a result of the most recent charges against him.

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