A 28-year-old former Steamboat Springs resident was sentenced to five years in the Colorado Department of Corrections followed by five years of parole.
Trevor Rice was convicted of distributing cocaine, and two dozen people sat in the courtroom to show their support during the Friday hearing.
"Your choice was a really bad choice," Judge Shelley Hill said to Rice before delivering the sentence. "You distributed a lot of controlled substances in our community."
The Routt County District Attorney's Office was asking for a six-year sentence. Drug sentencing laws required Rice serve a minimum of four years in prison.
Rice was being represented by Attorney Larry Combs.
"His imprisonment should be no longer than absolutely necessary," Combs said. "I think four years is too long."
Rice cried while several friends, former co-workers and bosses spoke about Rice's character.
They described Rice as an exemplary human being. They asked for leniency and wished the judge was not working with a four-year mandatory minimum sentence.
"It's just crazy all the stuff that's been running through my head," Rice said to Hill. "I can't begin to explain how embarrassed and shameful I am."
Rice was taking college classes in Denver, and friends said Rice had a promising future.
"This is going to hurt him, but it is not going to destroy him," Combs said.
Before delivering the sentence, Hill called Rice a leader and a phenomenal person, but he made a big mistake.
"That future is going to be put on hold for awhile," Hill said.
In addition to the prison sentence, Rice was fined $3,000 and might have to pay $6,500 to reimburse the All Crimes Enforcement Team.
Rice was arrested in March after police said he sold 3 ounces of cocaine to a person working with the All Crimes Enforcement Team drug task force. The investigation began after a confidential source had a December meeting with Rice. A controlled buy took place in January using a post office box at the downtown post office.
Rice had 5 ounces of cocaine in his ski boot when he was pulled over and arrested by the All Crimes Enforcement Team on Rabbit Ears Pass.
The Routt County District Attorney’s Office charged Rice with three Class 3 felonies. As part of a deal, he pleaded guilty to one of the charges.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland
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