Woman gets probation in meth distribution

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A Craig mother escaped a prison sentence for drug charges because of the effect it might have on her children, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Chief District Judge Michael O'Hara sentenced Katherine Eile Liljedahl, 35, to five years of supervised probation in a decision that deviated from recommendations by both sides.

"I'm concerned about incarcerating both parents when there's minor children at home," O'Hara said. "I don't have any way of knowing if one is more culpable or they are equally culpable."

Liljedahl and her husband, Craig Liljedahl, 38, were arrested June 1 after officials from Grand, Routt and Moffat Narcotics Enforcement Team arrested the couple after obtaining a search warrant to raid their home in the 1300 block of Sequoia Avenue in Shadow Mountain Village.

The couple has two children, ages 13 and 14.

Search warrants and arrest affidavits have been sealed in the case.

Katherine Liljedahl was char-ged with attempted distribution of a controlled substance, a Class 3 felony. Craig Liljedahl was charged with distribution of a Schedule 2 substance and possession of more than one gram of drugs. Craig Liljedahl is expected to enter a plea in his case Sept. 26. Sentencing will follow.

O'Hara said he was concerned about the terms of the sentence because evidence showed that the couple had been distributing methamphetamine for years.

Katherine Liljedahl also will serve 41 days in the Moffat County Jail making a total of 90 days, considering time already spent in custody. She will participate in the substance abuse program with the probation department, complete 200 hours of community service and pay $3,000 in supervision fees. Liljedahl cannot associate with anyone on probation or parole and is prohibited from using drugs and alcohol.

Deputy District Attorney Mike Stern pressed for three years inclusion in Craig's Community Alternative Placement Services.

"Obviously our recommendation was more severe," Stern said after the hearing.

O'Hara told Liljedahl that a guilty plea of distributing meth usually would result in prison time.

Family members sitting in the front of the courtroom were visibly relieved when the judge said that would not happen.

Neither have previous offenses, according to court records.

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