Suspect gets year in prison

Man arrested in meth sweep

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One of the suspects from a major methamphetamine sweep in December will serve a year in prison, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Paul Romero Mendoza, 39, of Craig, pleaded guilty Tuesday in 14th Judicial District Court to felony possession of meth. Chief Judge Michael O'Hara sentenced Mendoza to one year in the Colorado Department of Corrections. Mendoza's sentence will run consecutively with a one-year sentence he has been serving since September on a bond violation charge.

The plea was part of an agreement between Mendoza's lawyer, public defender Sheryl Uhlmann, and the District Attorney's Office. Mendoza was one of 15 people arrested in December in a major meth sweep. Local law enforcement officers and agents from the Greater Routt and Moffat Narcotics Enforcement Team made the arrests after a six-month investigation. Mendoza was given the chance to address the court Tuesday, but he said nothing.

As Mendoza walked out of the courtroom, his hands shackled across his waist, he blew kisses to two GRAMNET officers seated in the courtroom. At the time of December's sweep, police said they had evidence that all 15 defendants sold meth to undercover agents or informants. But in court Tuesday, O'Hara said there were problems with some of the evidence in Mendoza's case.

A recorder that a confidential informant had used to record Mendoza making a meth sale stopped working during the alleged sale, O'Hara said. O'Hara said that he would rather get a one-year sentence in the case than risk Mendoza not serving any jail time.

O'Hara rejected a plea in the case last month because the plea did not require Mendoza to serve any jail time in addition to his sentence. Under the terms of the deal that Mendoza agreed to Tuesday, the district attorney dropped meth distribution and assault charges against him. The assault charge stems from a fight between Mendoza and another inmate in Moffat County Jail on Feb. 11.

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

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