DA's Office offers pleas to 3 meth suspects

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The District Attorney's Office on Monday offered plea deals to three of the 15 people arrested in a historic drug sweep in December during a hearing in Moffat County Court.

Shaun San-chez, 26, Kas-sandra Dilldine, 19, and Paul Mendoza, 39, have until their arraignments to accept the pleas or reject them and go to trial.

Local law enforcement officers and the Greater Routt and Moffat Narcotics Enforcement Team rounded up Sanchez, Dilldine, Men-doza and 11 other defendants Dec. 21 and 22 after a six-month investigation.

Oak Creek police arrested the 15th defendant, Sherry Nel--son, 40, of Oak Creek, on Dec. 27. She was transferred to Moffat County Jail from Routt County Jail on Dec. 29.

Police say they have evidence that all 15 people sold drugs to undercover officers and informants.

The 15 defendants -- nine men and six women -- face felony charges of distributing meth and felony possession of meth.

At Monday's hearing, Chief Deputy District Attorney Amy Fitch offered Sanchez a felony meth charge. Sanchez faces charges from a separate incident, which include motor vehicle theft and a misdemeanor charge for running from police and barricading himself in a home.

If he accepts the deal and pleads guilty, Sanchez will serve a maximum of 10 years in jail on all of the charges.

Sanchez's attorney, Sheryl Uhlmann, asked Moffat County Judge Mary Lynne James to reduce Sanchez's $50,000 bond in the meth case. But the judge refused, saying Sanchez is a flight risk because of the prison time he faces.

Sanchez's arraignment hearing is set for March 1 in 14th Judicial District Court.

The District Attorney's Office offered Dilldine three different deals Monday. If she accepts one of the deals, Dilldine, who before October had never been in trouble with the police, would serve a maximum of six months in jail.

Dilldine has until her Feb. 8 arraignment to accept the plea agreement.

The judge also refused to lower Dilldine's $50,000 bond.

In Mendoza's case, the District Attorney's Office offered him one-year in jail if he pleads guilty to a felony possession charge.

The jail time would be concurrent with another jail sentence, so Mendoza would serve only a few additional days in jail for the charge, said Uhlmann, who also is Mendoza's attorney

Uhlmann said the deal involved a light punishment because the prosecution would have a hard time proving Mendoza's guilt in a trial.

The prosecution's case is based on the testimony of an informant, who is in jail on a separate charge, Uhlmann said. The informant says Mendoza sold drugs to a third person who then gave the drugs to the informant, Uhlmann said.

Judge James, who was filling in for District Judge Michael O'Hara on Monday, declined to accept Mendoza's guilty plea. James said she would let O'Hara make the decision in the case because it was a light punishment for the charge.

Mendoza will go before Judge O'Hara on Feb. 8.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or bjohansson@craigdailypress.com.

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