Men's drug cases moving slowly

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The case of one of two roommates accused of selling cocaine and methamphetamine from their home near Soda Creek Elementary School is moving slowly because the attorney who was representing the man has had her law license suspended.

Jesus Alvarez Frias, 44, of Steamboat Springs, is charged with possessing a Schedule 2 controlled substance with the intent to distribute, a Class 3 felony. The co-defendant in the case, Cosme Orlando Lopez, 22, of Steamboat Springs, is facing two counts of possessing a Schedule 2 controlled substance with the intent to distribute in connection with a police investigation into cocaine and meth dealing. Alvarez Frias is accused of selling cocaine.

Attorney Leslie Goldstein was representing Alvarez Frias, but he changed representation to attorney Heather Turner in October.

Turner had her law license suspended by the Colorado Supreme Court last week after the court investigated several claims she had abandoned her clients in Routt, Moffat and Grand counties.

During a hearing in Routt County Court on Wednesday, Judge James Garrecht said he was concerned that Alvarez Frias was without representation and noted Turner had filed a request for a motions hearing in the case but had not filed any motions.

Goldstein said she would be representing Alvarez Frias but that she needed more time to go over discovery in the case before she decided how she wanted to proceed.

Garrecht advised Goldstein that Alvarez Frias would need to have his case set for a preliminary hearing soon or that he would need to waive his 30-day right to the hearing, which Goldstein said she was not comfortable doing because she had not had any time to meet with Alvarez Frias.

Garrecht scheduled Alvarez Frias to appear in court at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Orlando Lopez appeared in Routt County District Court on Tuesday for a motions hearing during which District Judge Paul McLimans approved As----sistant District Attorney Kerry St. James to admit similar drug transactions as evidence during the man's trial. Greater Routt and Moffat Narcotics Enforcement Team officers said they documented Lopez making the transactions. Agency officials arrested the men after observing them for months.

According to court documents, St. James told the court he would file an amended count in Lopez's meth case to incorporate all of Lopez's charges into one case.

Lopez's case is scheduled for trial Feb. 13 and 14.

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