Steamboat Springs An attorney representing a man accused of selling cocaine and meth near Soda Creek Elementary School questioned the credibility of the confidential informant police used to purchase drugs from the man.
During a motions hearing Friday in Routt County District Court, attorney Ron Smith questioned Steamboat Springs police officer and former Greater Routt and Moffat Narcotics Enforcement Team officer Matt Harmon about paying a confidential informant to allegedly purchase drugs from 42-year-old Jesus Alvarez Frias and his roommate, 22-year-old Cosme Orlando Lopez.
Alvarez Frias and Orlando Lopez were arrested after GRAMNET officers said they watched the men sell methamphetamine and cocaine during the summer from their apartment near the elementary school.
Lopez was convicted of two counts of distributing a Schedule 2 controlled substance and selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a public school. He will be sentenced March 27.
Alvarez Frias pleaded not guilty to the charges of distributing and possessing the drugs. His case will go to trial April 6.
During Friday's hearing, Smith questioned the credibility of the undercover informant GRAMNET used to conduct the alleged drug sales with Alvarez Frias. Smith said the informant was arrested on suspicion of credit card fraud while he was working for GRAMNET.
Smith argued that the informant was desperate for money and that he wrongfully used a credit card that he found.
"(The informant) was willing to violate the law for money, even though he was working for GRAMNET for the noble reasons of doing the right things and benefiting the community," Smith said.
In his testimony, Harmon told Smith that the informant's actions were "dumb" and that the informant admitted to the crime for which he later was convicted.
The informant was paid $400, Smith said.
District Judge Michael O'Hara noted that the informant testified during Lopez's trial, during which Lopez's attorney raised many of the same issues that Smith did on Friday.