Ex-Steamboat college student takes plea deal in marijuana case
September 19, 2012
Steamboat Springs — A felony possession and distribution marijuana charge was dismissed Wednesday against a 20-year-old former Steamboat Springs resident arrested in November.
Ritch Carr's two-day trial was scheduled to start Wednesday. Instead, Carr pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession of between 2 and 6 ounces of marijuana. He was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation and was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and court costs.
Carr originally was arrested on suspicion of unlawful possession with intent to distribute, a Class 4 felony. He also was arrested for misdemeanor possession of less than 6 ounces of marijuana and driving under the influence of drugs.
Steamboat Springs Police Department officers contacted Carr and three other people in a car that police thought looked suspicious at 2 a.m. Nov. 14 in an empty Colorado Mountain College parking lot.
After court Wednesday, Carr said he was in the car with the three others because they wanted to watch a movie, and Carr did not have a TV in his dorm room.
According to an affidavit filed with Routt County Court, police officers searched the car because they reported smelling marijuana. Items found during a search of the car included 5.8 ounces of marijuana in various containers, a bong, three blunts, a grinder, two scales, a bottle of liquor and nine empty jars. Officers reported that Carr said the marijuana was his.
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According to an affidavit, some of the marijuana was found in a jar that matched nine empty jars found in the back of Carr's vehicle.
Carr, a competitive Alpine ski racer at the time, said Wednesday that he used the jars to store ski wax, and he used the scales to weigh the wax.
"The felony charge was based on the possession of empty 8-ounce glass jars that he used to store wax in," said Larry Combs, Carr's attorney. "I've never heard of dealing marijuana in 8-ounce glass jars."
Carr also said Wednesday that he and his friends did not smoke marijuana in the car. He said he has a medical marijuana card out of Washington and had ingested marijuana about 14 hours before the arrest.
After being arrested, a blood draw was done on Carr. It showed he had 1 nanogram/milliliter of active THC in his system. Police Chief Joel Rae on Wednesday said that level is consistent with someone who had used marijuana possibly 14 hours earlier. He said Carr could have that level of THC in his system from being around marijuana.
Officials with the Routt County District Attorney's Office were unavailable for comment Wednesday afternoon.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com