Steamboat brothers appear in court on heroin charges

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Jordan Thomas Persons

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Elijah Joseph Persons

— A preliminary hearing Wednesday and Thursday and recently unsealed documents reveal what police say led to the arrests of two Steamboat Springs brothers accused of dealing heroin. Both men now face a combined 17 felony charges.

Police began their six-week investigation into Jordan Persons, 19, and Elijah Persons, 21, using a confidential source previously arrested on drug-related charges by the Steamboat Springs Police Department. The source then began working with the All Crimes Enforcement Team drug task force.

He or she arranged the initial purchase of heroin that was under surveillance by ACET team members Jan. 22 outside a residence on Alpenglow Way. Stuart Hutton, an ACET team member and Steamboat Springs police officer, testified that Elijah Persons sold 2 grams of heroin for $200 to the confidential source.

Hutton then began doing the controlled buys himself while posing undercover as “Lee,” a user who was interested in selling heroin in Craig. Hutton testified in court this week that he bought 21 grams of heroin from Jordan Persons during the course of six undercover buys.

Hutton also said Jordan Persons went to Denver multiple times to buy heroin and bring it back for sale in Steamboat, according to a tracker placed on Jordan Persons’ car.

“I think there is a pattern of an ongoing enterprise,” Hutton testified.

The Persons brothers appeared together Wednesday in Routt County Court for their preliminary hearings, intended to determine whether there was probable cause to move the cases to 14th Judicial District Court, which handles felonies.

Jordan Persons, who has been charged with 11 felonies, waived his right to the preliminary hearing, and his case was bound over to District Court. His next appearance is at 1:30 p.m. May 11. He faces the following charges:

■ Violation of Colorado Organized Crime Control Act, a Class 2 felony. The charge states that Jordan Persons was involved with other people in the sale or distribution of heroin.

■ Six charges of distribution of heroin, Class 3 felonies.

■ Two charges related to conspiracy to sell or distribute 25 to 450 grams of heroin, Class 3 felonies.

■ Money laundering, a Class 3 felony. The charge states Jordan Persons conducted financial transactions with money that came from committing a crime.

■ Conspiracy to commit money laundering, a Class 4 felony.

Elijah Persons was represented by Routt County Public Defender Sheryl Uhlmann during the preliminary hearing that carried over to Thursday morning.

The following charges have been filed against Elijah Persons:

■ Violation of Colorado Organized Crime Control Act

■ Distribution of heroin

■ Conspiracy to sell or distribute 25 to 450 grams of heroin

■ Possession with the intent to sell or distribute heroin, a Class 3 felony.

■ Money laundering

■ Conspiracy to commit money laundering

At the conclusion of the hearing, Routt County Judge James Garrecht said he planned to send the distribution and possession with the intent to sell or distribute charges to District Court and that he would make a decision about the other charges later.

During the hearing, Uhlmann focused many of her arguments on the most serious charge, the violation of the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act.

“We don’t have any evidence that (the brothers) planned this together,” Uhlmann said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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