Meth suspect gets probation

Man charged with methaphematine distribution accepts plea deal

A methamphetamine distribution trial that was scheduled for this summer has been averted, the prosecutor in the case said Wednesday.

Jay Christopher Vatalaro, 25, of Craig, was charged with meth possession with intent to sell, attempted meth possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The case would have gone to trial, but prosecutors reached a plea agreement with Vatalaro late last month, Deputy District Attorney Andy Heyl said.

Prosecutors dropped possession with intent to sell and possession of drug paraphernalia charges against Vatalaro, according to court documents.

In exchange, Vatalaro pleaded guilty to attempted possession of meth and was sentenced to probation.

Agents with the Greater Routt and Moffat Nar--cotics Enfor--cement Team arrested Vata--laro and three other people at a home on Third Street in Novem--ber.

Police said they seized 1.25 grams of meth from a storage shed that Vatalaro was in.

Police began investigating possible drug distribution at the house after receiving a tip last fall, according to court documents.

Police searched Vatalaro's trash cans on two occasions, finding notes describing drug dealing, a drug ledger and a plastic baggie with meth residue in it, according to court documents.

Vatalaro and two other people were charged with meth distribution after the arrests, but charges against the other two defendants were dropped a few days later.

Another person was arrested at the home and charged with marijuana possession.

Heyl said there were issues with the evidence in Vata--laro's case that would have made it difficult to get a conviction.

The fact that there were three people in the shed where most of the drugs were found was particularly difficult, Heyl said.

None of the people said the drugs belonged to them, so it would have made it difficult to convict anyone of possessing the meth, Heyl said.

Other than the quantity of meth officers said they found, Heyl said there wasn't anything that would have proved Vatalaro planned to sell the drugs.

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

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