Charges dismissed vs. ACET suspect

Judge signs order vacating suspected distributor's trial

A judge signed an order Monday agreeing with a prosecution request to dismiss charges in Moffat County District Court against a suspected drug distributor.

Horacio Contreras-Alcala, a man the All Crimes Enforcement Team arrested in March, was charged in District Court with distribution of a Schedule 2 controlled substance, possession with intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, all felonies.

He pleaded not guilty and was scheduled for a five-day jury trial beginning Jan. 12.

However, a motion filed Friday by the 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office asked the court to dismiss all charges against Contreras-Alcala.

Prosecutor Jeremy Snow's motion explains the reasons for dismissal.

He wrote that the District Attorney's Office and Contreras-Alcala and his defense attorney, Charles Feldmann, of Steamboat Springs, thought the case was resolved through a plea agreement.

But, according to the motion, the "defendant changed his mind at the last minute" and he persisted in his plea of not guilty.

"Due to the delay caused by this change in circumstances combined with the holiday season, the People were unable to secure the necessary expert witnesses needed to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt," the motion reads. "At this point, the People will not be able to secure these expert witnesses before trial."

The circumstances meant prosecutors were "forced to dismiss this case and they will not be able to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt at trial."

Michael O'Hara, chief judge of the 14th Judicial District, dismissed the charges and vacated the trial Monday afternoon.

The District Attorney's Office issued no further comment.

ACET and prosecutors alleged Contreras-Alcala was part of one of Northwest Colorado's largest drug distribution networks. Charges against suspects arrested stemmed from an ACET probe into methamphetamine and cocaine distribution.

To date, the case has yielded 10 convictions - all handled by the District Attorney's Office - and sentences totaling more than 46 years in prison and $30,000 in fines.

The final suspect to be sentenced is Russell Stewert McDiffett, who a jury found guilty in November of distribution of a Schedule 2 controlled substance. He is scheduled for sentencing Jan. 14 in District Court.

As of 5 p.m. Monday, Contreras-Alcala was still in custody at the Moffat County Jail.

Comments

lonelyone 5 years, 3 months ago

Are you kidding me??!! Why are you taking so long to get these people to trial? Maybe if this stuff wasn't taking to long to get done, you might have had the people around to get him through the system properly, guilty or not. This is just another waste of our tax money and has to be greatly disappointing to ACET and other officers who are trying to do their jobs.

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DV8 5 years, 3 months ago

The accused was over 18 years old and they may have had to work to get a conviction, of course they would ask that it be dismissed.

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lonelyone 5 years, 3 months ago

my husband and I talked about this last night and his comment was why didn't the judge continue the trial, if that is the correct term, so that these people who could have testified been here? At least that way if there actually had been a trial and he was released we'd say the system worked. Now we just shake our heads and say what a joke it is here in good old Moffat County to get a drug charge...........oh gee your charged with selling drugs, don't worry it'll be dropped sooner or later!

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freeman 5 years, 3 months ago

I BELIEVE THOSE TWO MEN WERE THE TWO THAT WAS WORKING WITH ACET TO MAKE THE DRUG BUST

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