Meth suspects appear in court


Three defendants from a major methamphetamine sweep in December had court appearances Monday.

Paul Romero Mendoza, 39, Steven James Wick, 29, and Trixie Rae Albaugh, 30, all of Craig, were scheduled to appear on meth distribution and possession charges.

Mendoza was scheduled for a preliminary hearing in Moffat County Court on Monday, but his attorney, public defender Sheryl Uhlmann, had the hearing delayed until 3 p.m. today.

Albaugh was scheduled for arraignment on the charges in 14th Judicial District Court, where Chief Judge Michael O'Hara granted a continuance request from Albaugh's lawyer, David Waite.

O'Hara scheduled an arraignment for April 5, saying it would give Albaugh time to discuss a plea agreement with the District Attorney's Office.

Wick waived his right to a preliminary hearing Monday.

Deputy District Attorney Andy Heyl said that because Wick waived the hearing, prosecutors would be willing to discuss a plea agreement with him.

Mendoza, Wick and Albaugh were three of 15 people arrested in December in a major meth sweep.

Local law enforcement of----ficers and agents from the Greater Routt and Moffat Narcotics Enforcement Team made the arrests after a six-month investigation.

Charges against one of the 15 suspects have been dropped.

Police said they have evidence that the defendants sold meth to undercover agents or informants.

Mendoza was one of three defendants from December's sweep already serving time on a separate offense at the time of his arrest.

Mendoza waived his right to a preliminary hearing and was ready to accept a plea agreement last month, but Judge O'Hara rejected the terms of the agreement.

Under the agreement, Men--doza, who is serving a one-year sentence from a previous offense, would not serve any additional jail time. Mendoza would have been sentenced to one year in jail concurrent with the sentence he is serving.

Judge O'Hara rejected the agreement because it did not require Mendoza to serve additional jail time.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or

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