Trial starts for man arrested | SteamboatToday.com

Trial starts for man arrested

Christine Metz

A court trial began Thursday for a 46-year-old man who allegedly tried to take luggage containing marijuana and a container with cocaine residue on to a plane at Yampa Valley Regional Airport.

Paul Catanzaro of St. Louis appeared in District Court on charges stemming from a March 3, 2003, incident in which Hayden police officers said they found two marijuana baggies and cocaine residue in luggage that Catanzaro owned.

Catanzaro is on trial for charges of possession of a schedule II substance, possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Thursday was the start of a two-day trail. A jury was selected, and Deputy District Attorney Erick Knaus called three witnesses to the stand.

During his testimony, Hayden Police Chief Jody Lenahan said that a security officer at the airport found marijuana in Catanzaro’s suitcase and called him into the airport.

After the marijuana was found, Catanzaro consented for police to search his bags, where they found a marijuana pipe in a ski glove and sliver containers that tested positive for cocaine residue, Lenahan said.

Recommended Stories For You

Catanzaro was arrested and booked at the Routt County Jail. The drugs and paraphernalia were placed in an evidence locker, Lenahan said. Police sent the two bags of marijuana and cocaine residue to be tested at the Colorado Bureau of Investigations.

During cross-examination, Catanzaro’s attorney, Christopher Hammond, questioned how the evidence was kept. Lenahan admitted that the Hayden Police Department did not have any records for when the evidence was checked out.

Lenahan agreed with Hammond when asked whether the department had a procedure for keeping track of evidence and whether other people had looked at it.

Hammond questioned why police did not run fingerprint tests on any of the evidence collected or give Catanzaro a test to see if he was under the influence of drugs.

Lenahan said in the past he has not had “much luck” with collecting fingerprints, saying they quickly wear off.

And Catanzaro did not appear to be under the influence of any drugs, so Lenahan said he thought no tests were needed during the arrest.

The trial will resume today.

— To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com