Woman sentenced to 6 years

Longest term yet in meth sweep

A judge Monday sentenced one of the 15 people arrested in December's methamphetamine sweep to six years in prison.

Julie Denee McLeslie, 34, of Craig, pleaded guilty Monday to meth distribution and possession of more than 1 gram of meth.

The guilty pleas were part of an agreement between McLeslie and the District Attorney's Office that stipulated prosecutors would throw out a meth distribution charge against McLeslie.

As part of the agreement, District Judge L. Thomas Woodford sentenced McLeslie to six years in prison for each charge. The sentences handed down Monday will run concurrent to one another, but consecutive to a one-year sentence McLeslie is serving for vehicle theft.

McLeslie's sentence will be followed by five years of parole.

The six-year sentence is the longest sentence yet for any of the 15 defendants from Dec--ember's sweep.

Last week, Chief Judge Michael O'Hara rejected a plea deal that would have sent McLeslie to prison for four years.

Woodford, who filled in for O'Hara because of a scheduling conflict, said a six-year sentence was an appropriate one.

"I think that the imposed sentence is the proper sentence for the people and a fair sentence for Ms. McLeslie," Woodford said.

McLeslie was one of 15 people arrested in December in one of the biggest meth sweeps in Moffat County history. Local law enforcement officers and agents from the Greater Routt and Moffat Narcotics Enforcement Team made the arrests after a six-month investigation.

All 15 defendants were charged with distribution and possession of meth.

At the time of the sweep, McLeslie was in the Mesa County Jail in Grand Junction on vehicle theft charges.

A Mesa County sheriff's deputy arrested McLeslie in November. Authorities said she was driving a 1991 Ford F-150 that was stolen from Horizons Specialized Services in Craig a few days before.

Horizons serves people with developmental disabilities and mental retardation in Northwest Colorado.

McLeslie's case nearly went to trial Monday before lawyers in the case reached an agreement. The court called in 100 potential jurors in preparation for the trial.

McLeslie appeared in court wearing street clothes instead of a jail smock because the case was scheduled to go to trial.

When given the chance to address the court, McLeslie said nothing.

Woodford said he hopes McLeslie seeks treatment during her time in prison.

"If you really want some help, you can get some help there," he said.

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

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