Charges dismissed against two ACET suspects

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Valenzuela-Lopez

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Chavez-Hernandez

The 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office dismissed drug distribution charges late Friday against two suspects arrested during last month's sweep by the All Crimes Enforcement Team.

"The DA's Office is obligated to dismiss charges (when) there is not a sufficient likelihood of a conviction at a trial," Deputy District Attorney Jeremy Snow said in a news release. "While there was sufficient evidence to support the arrest and charges at the time, the information uncovered by ACET's continuing investigation obligates the DA's Office to dismiss these charges."

Four felony charges were dismissed against Randalfo Valenzuela-Lopez, 23, and Heriberto Chavez-Hernandez, 21.

The men were arrested March 25 along with nine others in one of ACET's largest operations to date. Authorities allege the remaining nine men, each of whom are believed to be in the United States illegally, are tied to one of Northwest Colorado's biggest trafficking organizations and possibly Mexican organized crime.

ACET Commander Garrett Wiggins recently informed prosecutors that "new information" surfaced regarding Valenzuela-Lopez and Chavez-Hernandez.

"Based on this new information, it was unlikely that there would be enough evidence to prove the charges against these two individuals beyond a reasonable doubt," Snow wrote. "Nor did it appear likely that further investigation would produce additional evidence sufficient to convict these individuals at trial."

Wiggins recommended the charges be dismissed, and prosecutors agreed and filed a motion to dismiss.

Eight of the remaining nine suspects arrested March 25 face the same four charges - distribution of a schedule 2 controlled substance, two counts of possession of a schedule 2 controlled substance with intent to sell or distribute and conspiracy to distribute or manufacture a schedule 2 controlled substance.

The controlled substances are alleged to be between 25 and 450 grams of methamphetamine, amphetamine, or cocaine, according to the charges.

One of the eight, Marco Contreras-Alcala also faces an additional count of possession of a schedule 2 controlled substance with intent to sell or distribute and a sentence enhancer of possession of a deadly weapon by a special offender.

Edgar Pena-Villava, a suspect who was arrested on a warrant, unlike the others who were taken on warrant-less arrests, faces two counts of distribution of a schedule 2 controlled substance, possession of a schedule 2 controlled substance with intent to sell or distribute and conspiracy to distribute or manufacture a schedule 2 controlled substance.

Prosecutors also added two sentence enhancers - direct conspiracy to sell or distribute and committing the alleged offenses which "constituted a substantial source of the defendant's income," according to the charges.

The suspects are scheduled to appear at 1 p.m. today in Moffat County Court for an advisement hearing.

A day after the March 25 arrests, authorities detained three others in connection with the alleged drug distribution ring.

Vita Pilar Hochreiter, Russell Stewart McDiffett, both 34, and Mallory Dean Johnston, 24, each are charged with a sole count of distribution of a schedule 2 controlled substance.

"The 14th Judicial District and ACET continue to pursue charges against the 12 remaining individuals arrested in connection with this investigation," Snow said.

Wiggins said Tuesday there will be no more recommendations from the task force to prosecutors for the dismissal of charges against any of the other suspects.

"It's just limited to these two," he said, reiterating that the investigation revealed more suspicion against the two men than evidence.

"And we base our investigations off facts, not assumptions," he added.

Comments

justice4all 6 years, 8 months ago

Sure seems that the DA should have done more investigation B E F O R E authorizing an arrest warrant.

Now that these men have been publicly accused, humiliated, arrested, jailed and had their pride compromised they are released. While they may be guilty of their original charges, we must remember that they were accused and not convicted. Our DA, Rosink, her staff and asst DA Snow have in the past and again in this case threatened to ruin an accused individuals' character if they did not plead guilty in a plea agreement. What happened to the PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE that is afforded in our Constitution????? If they paid a bondsman, will that fee be refunded? The DA should be held liable for any lost work, the bondsmans' fee and just compensation for the injury done to ones'character. What is that worth? A simple answer is ---- what would it be worth to you if you, your spouse, your child or a friend were the victim of an unscruplous DA? Remember the Randal Nelson case!!! While I personally abhore drug dealers, we must remember that thes men WERE CONVICTED OF NOTHING and treat them as victim of the Rosink and Snow "justice system". IT is obvious that Rosink should run for election------AS A LOWLIFE IN A 3rd World COUNTRY-----. She would probably win if she had no competition.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 8 months ago

Well, they advertised releasing them from jail in the first place, didn't they? I could be wrong, but the INS is in charge of deportation, anyway...not ACET. Either way, there is no info at this time specifying these 2 in particular are in the US illegally. Does that make them innocent of the other crimes? No, but there was something there that caused the charges to be dropped. If you feel strongly about it...call the INS. No...never mind...I'm sure the INS sifts thru the Pilot Forums for all their illegal immigrant needs. This is a much better place for justice to happen.

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Gladys 6 years, 8 months ago

yes, you could be wrong. You seem to live in a bubble and you always stand quick to defend an illegal over your own fellow American. Unfortunately, there are a whole bunch of people like you - that is why we are being over run with illegals. Someday your own family will be affected, then we'll see which tune you sing.

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molly 6 years, 8 months ago

What about the fact that these two are ILLEGAL?? Do they just get released free and clear and not get deported? As a law abiding and tax paying citizen I find that infuriating as well as an insult to the immigrants who have come to this country legally!

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 8 months ago

Actually, Molly, it doesn't say anything about these 2 in particular being here illegally. It refers to the others as such:

"Authorities allege the remaining nine men, each of whom are believed to be in the United States illegally, are tied to one of Northwest Colorado's biggest trafficking organizations and possibly Mexican organized crime."

Where was it noted that these 2 are here illegally?

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snowysteamboat 6 years, 8 months ago

ACET reported that at least 10 of them are in the U.S. illegally - one of them claims to be a legal resident, but the task force can find no proof of it - and none appear to have legitimate employment.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 8 months ago

Snowy- again, the statement reads "believed" to be here illegally, and that doesn't mean confirmed. Maybe they've found these 2 aren't here illegally and trumps prior info? I don't know, so that's why I'm asking.

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snowysteamboat 6 years, 8 months ago

My post is a direct quote out of the Craig paper. I don't see the use of the word "believed" anywhere in it.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 8 months ago

And mine is a direct quote from the article above, that this thread pertains to.

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molly 6 years, 8 months ago

I have heard time and time again of illegal aliens being taken into custody and then simply released with no further repercussions. Since this investigation has been going on for awhile, law enforcement should know definitely by this point the status of their legality. And if they are found to be here illegaly, regardless of the drug charges, they should be deported!

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id04sp 6 years, 8 months ago

Justice,

I doubt these folks got out on bail through a bondsman. Unless someone came forward with some pretty good collateral, no reasonable bondsman would take on such people with a high risk of flight. Usually when people get out on bond in cases like this, it's because Aunt Tilly put up her house as collateral. When Aunt Tilly lives in Mexico, that's not possible.

A bail bond is issued by a casualty insurance company through a licensed bondsman. Without real property, stocks, bonds, a business, oil leases, etc., to hold as collateral against the bond, the bondsman is taking a huge risk. The only advantage of using a bondsman is that it can get you out of jail FAST if you can put up collateral. I doubt these illegals had anyone who could back them.

Many times illegals post their bond in cash, or even give a bail bondsman cash, plus his fee, to get it DONE. Then they disappear across the border and come back as someone else.

There is a very high probability that people with enough evidence for arrest are guilty of SOMETHING! Just because the DA cannot guarantee a conviction, that doesn't mean the suspect is innocent.

At the very least, these guys should be more careful who they hang out with. Good advice for all of us, eh?

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 8 months ago

No, I'm not joking. The article above says nothing about these 2 people that are being released as to being illegal immigrants. Please quote the place it says that in this article. All I see is where it talk of 9 other men "believed" to be illegals.

Since charges were dropped on the other counts, maybe something came to light about these 2 people's legal status; maybe not. The article doesn't say. I was just correcting molly since nowhere in this particular article does it say the 2 released were illegals.

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snowysteamboat 6 years, 8 months ago

What wrong with taking the blinders off Matt and looking at other articles?

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 8 months ago

Are the other articles older? If so, wouldn't you think that since they mentioned the other 9 men as believed to being illegal, that they would have just lumped all together?

By taking the blinders off, you should see this as possible new information that may contradict the old. At least that's how I see it. Remember- the other 3 people they caught were here legally.

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Gladys 6 years, 8 months ago

I seriously doubt they would advertise the fact that they have released two illegals involved in a drug ring. Pretty sure those two boys gave up some vital information and that is why they were released. The article did not indicate they were released because they are innocent. But to LE, landing the big fish would be more important than snagging a couple minnows.

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steamboatsconscience 6 years, 8 months ago

quote "And we base our investigations off facts, not assumptions," he added. obviously Gladys doesnt agree with that.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 8 months ago

You are NOT my fellow American, Gladys. Get that straight from the beginning. You are an anonymous poster on a forum full of such, meaning you have no face, but will just throw crap in the air and hope a fan's wind slings it all the way around for you.

So I take it you didn't then call the INS since you're so pissed off about this? Are you just sitting in your little computer bubble spouting off without taking action?

So you say "yes, you could be wrong." Show me ACET's authorization to deport illegals without the INS involved. C'mon Gladys- puff that chest out and show me where they have that specific info. While you're at it, show me where it SAYS SPECIFICALLY that these 2 ARE illegals. Maybe it's just bad reporting. Maybe you work for an organization that you are leaking information from that you shouldn't be. Maybe you didn't call the INS for fear of it being traced back to you to protect the illegals you employ- a little "throw them off my track" strategy.

Maybe is the word all-around, right?

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trump_suit 6 years, 8 months ago

Glady's world is so black and white that she automatically assumes the worst. In her world all people of mexican heritage must be here illegally. It is inconceivable to her that some of them may actually belong in the USA.

I would hope that the citizenship of these two was confirmed prior to their release. Anything less would be a serious flaw on the part of our Law Enforcement officials.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 8 months ago

trump_suit-

I agree wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, the info was not in the article, so I refuse to just automatically decide that it meant there WERE illegal, especially when logic states that since the other 9 were believed to be here illegally, there would be a statement saying these 2 were also. ACET would then have released them into the INS's custody.

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Dukebets 6 years, 8 months ago

My bet is that the 2 released are here legally and that is exactly why they were released. The drug charges aren't going to stick, once again, and the illegals are just being held while waiting for deportation.

And, Gladys obviously has an issue with anyone other than 'whitey'.

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justice4all 6 years, 8 months ago

One more time, we are all created equal. Under the laws and Rights of our Constitution, we shall have the "presumption of innocence" until proven guilty.

Black, White, Tan, Red, Yellow or Green should be afforded equal rights and liberties under the law of the land. Maybe DA Rostink, her staff and her fairhaired child Deangelo (the DA investigator) should have done their job BEFORE slandering these two by causing their arrest, posting their pictures in the news as drug dealers...... The DA has threatened to ruin more than one persons' character and repution with guilt not being a consideration. Maybe it is time to ruin her reputation with a successful re-call.

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Gladys 6 years, 8 months ago

unbelievable. Too bad you feel that way Matt Stoddard. Even though I strongly dislike you, I still consider you a fellow American and would stand for you before I would stand for an illegal. And I have to say...give up the anonymity crap. First of all, it is my right on this forum to remain anonymous and because of people like you, I will continue to enjoy that right, as I feel it is people like you that would hold MY opinion against prominent members of the community that happen to be related to me. And secondly, just because you throw your name out there does not give your opinion any more merit than an anonymous poster. Your name means nothing.

As for the "whitey" comment - how do you know I am not a black man? I am anonymous, remember?

Get your head out of the sand. We have a real and serious problem of illegal immigration in our country. When 11 Mexican nationals are arrested for involvement in a drug ring and none of them have a job or speak English and all are suspected of being here illegally, yes, I am going to go with they are illegals. Do you really think the biggest concern of LE is that they are illegal? No...they are more concerned with the drug ring (and good for them - that would be my primary concern as well). LE makes deals all the time. It would not surprise me in the least if these two were released (legal or not) after making a deal to roll on the rest - the bigger fish. Every article I have read on this bust says all were illegal, except for one who claimed he is here legally, and they could find no proof to confirm that. Why doesn't it bother anyone that illegals are distributing drugs in our towns? Why would you rather pull the race card and stand in defense of dangerous criminals. Mind boggling. My guess would be you do not have children/grandchildren and you do not give one crap about this country, as long as all is well in your own little world.

Blast away - your opinion of me has no effect whatsoever. I am anonymous to you, but not to myself, friends, family and colleagues (who by the way all know my feeling on this topic). To me, you are only showing your true colors and they are not Red, White and Blue...and rest assured, I do not lose a second of sleep over any opinion you have of me.

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Gladys 6 years, 8 months ago

By the way...what do you think about the nine who are illegal? And how do you feel about the free legal counsel and interpreters they are receiving? Or are you saying they are also here legally and there has been a misunderstanding, or misstatement?

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 8 months ago

Really? The U.S. Bill of Rights: http://www.billofrights.com/bill_of_rights.htm

"Amendment VI In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense."

I see the words "all criminal prosecutions," not "all criminal prosecutions except for illegal immigrants."

Maybe you need to check the Contrast Setting on your "Red, White and Blue."

And judging from your response...I'd say you lose a bit of sleep when someone thinks of you the way I do. "Methinks thou dost protest too much."

And you still haven't provided the proof about ACET's deportation authority or where it confirmed these 2 were illegal. It's a simple request, really. Don't worry, though: being anonymous

And my name must mean something, since you used it in your post. I have no fear of reprisal for my words. Your lack of a name means you'll forever remain nameless and can't prove you ARE a fellow American citizen, whether you have prominent relations or anything else.

Anonymity puts you on the same level as the masked Al Qaeda operatives on video tapes cutting off the heads of U.S. reporters: you can do what you do and walk freely in society with no fear of being held accountable. Nothing more; nothing less.

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Dukebets 6 years, 8 months ago

Gladys - You evidently are concerned about the opinions of others, or you wouldn't have spewed those last 45 sentences of pointless drivel. Plus, you do seem to be losing some sleep as your rants keep occuring.

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katrinkakelly 6 years, 8 months ago

Matt, you just went off the deep end, pal.

How is the Front Desk at The Ranch?

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Gladys 6 years, 8 months ago

ROFLMAO - pointless to try to talk sense to idiots. No loss of sleep, but I am losing valuable time goofing off with goofs.

You'll see with time...for now, I am going to go talk to some people who actually know what they are talking about instead of a bunch of fruit loops that just want to launch attacks.

Once again, another subject murdered by Matt Stoddard, the infamous "actor" who is probably just rehearsing for another role. At least my personality isn't a fake. LOL

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 8 months ago

KK- Slow, as you would know, right? Did you want me to call down there to keep you company?

Gladys- how can you prove your personality? And when will you show those little things that prove what you think, instead of just saying them? So yes: go preach to that choir that also just believes stuff that wasn't proven! Have at it!

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molly 6 years, 8 months ago

If I were a betting person, my money would go on Illegal Status for the whole group. I would also bet they will continue to be up to no good and be costing the American tax payer money. To all of you who feel they should be here and are supporting them, perhaps you would like to finance their stay here.....I for one am tired of my hard earned tax dollars going to people who do not contribute to the tax system, commit crimes, and expect us to pick up their social services tabs to boot!

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forreal 6 years, 8 months ago

contrarian, it is illegal in this country to hire illegal immigrants. they cannot file taxes without a valid green card or a social security number. that only means one thing; under the table. nobody probably knows they're working period. if they are illegal then why the Hell are they here? do you really realize how many of these SCABS we have to pay out for? you have to pay for that, too. don't you know how loopy the law is? i'm sure they're not innocent entirely. none of us are. you're behind must be awfully sore.

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luvthmntns 6 years, 8 months ago

When I first saw this picture in the paper I have to admit I was not surprised at all. I personally know one of these men. I have dealt with him while I worked in Craig a couple of years ago. I can honestly say in my opinion, I would not turn my back on him and look away. When I knew him he was not here legally, however in the two years of my absence from Craig maybe that has changed. I just know in the past he actually made it clear to me and others around him that he had no "papers". He also had incredible stories of escaping the "coyotes" when he crossed into the US.

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katrinkakelly 6 years, 8 months ago

The ditch is always slow Matt but you do not have my phone number and I most certainly do not want your company.......... Several people are disgusted with your reference to Al Qaeda!!

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 8 months ago

Only several? Damn! I thought more than several, easily. I guess that's the problem when you use anonymous handles...it might be that I'm offending 1 person 3 times with a single remark.

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Gladys 6 years, 8 months ago

yep - typical of you Stoddard. Okay and even funny (to you) to make such comments, but you are so quick to trash anyone else that would make such a comment. You are a real piece of work...or something like that. I imagine you would be quick to defend a terrorist in our country illegally, if we could not PROVE he was here illegally.

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Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 8 months ago

Gladys- I thought you were losing valuable time. Why are you still here? Are you going to accuse me of hiring illegals again just so you can feel good? Go right ahead, since you obviously have Xenophobic fear of anyone white an anglo-saxon name or face.

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justice4all 6 years, 8 months ago

Come on guyes and or ladies. Please settle your personal differences on accept the fact that you are different. This badgering each other sure takes away from the purpose of this comment section. Both of you have in the past made some very good and interesting points. BUUUUTTT, let's not settle your arguments here.

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