Judge gives meth sentence

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A Montrose woman was sentenced Friday to 18 months at the community corrections program for possession of methamphetamine.

Barbara Jo Moss, 48, pleaded guilty Jan. 25 to the charge of possession of less than 1 gram of a Schedule 2 controlled substance. Her public defender and the assistant district attorney agreed she should receive 18 months in the Correctional Alternative Placement Services in Craig.

Moss was arrested Oct. 26 along with Randy Douglas Cushman, 37, of Craig, after a Colorado State Patrol trooper stopped the two on U.S. Highway 40 and suspected their vehicle was part of a mobile methamphetamine lab.

When Moss pleaded guilty to the possession charge, seven other charges were dropped. She also agreed to provide a truthful written statement about the incident that could be used in court for Cushman's trial, and to testify if needed. Assistant District Attorney Kerry St. James said Moss already has provided that written statement.

A pre-sentence investigation report suggested that Moss be admitted to the Department of Corrections, but that recommendation was changed, Public Defender Trevor McFee said.

Probation officials "caught Ms. Moss on a bad day," McFee said. With some reflection, Moss realized she appreciated the benefits of the less strict community corrections program, McFee said.

So, probation officials recommended the community corrections program, McFee said.

"It's a situation where she's got some substance abuse problems and is working to address them," McFee said. He said Moss realized the program would be difficult.

"The fact that she's willing to participate, I think, speaks volumes," he said.

Moss said that the suicide of her ex-husband has had a tremendous effect on her and her two boys, and asked the judge to give her a chance. She also said she is worried about the condition of her sons.

St. James said that the suicide occurred a decade ago, and that Moss "needs to get over that as a crutch for the drug use."

St. James said he did not protest her going through the community corrections program instead of the Department of Corrections, but emphasized that Moss needed to realize she would end up in the Department of Corrections if she failed the community program.

District Judge Michael O'Hara echoed that.

"This is not a walk in the park," he said before sentencing her.

Moss also has a pending case in Montrose.

Cushman and Moss originally were charged with possession with the intent to distribute meth and possession of drug paraphernalia. Moss, who was driving the van, also was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, no proof of insurance, driving under suspension and failing to drive in a designated lane.

An arraignment for Cushman has been scheduled for 1 p.m. March 21.

-- To reach Susan Cunningham, call 871-4203 or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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