GLENWOOD SPRINGS — A man police believe was the “kingpin” of a Carbondale-based ring of drug dealers, Evance Grandberry, appears to be headed for trial after failed plea negotiations with the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s office.
Grandberry, 23, appeared in court on Thursday before District Judge Denise Lynch, where his attorney told the judge that trial dates were needed in the two cases pending against her client.
“Settlement negotiations are at a dead end,” said defense attorney Kathy Goudy. Attorneys are not permitted, under ethical rules, to discuss plea negotiations while a case is under way.
Goudy asked that one of the cases against her client be set first, because “it’s a very simple case” involving allegations that Grandberry was selling prescription drugs on the street.
After court, Goudy commented on that case, “He had a prescription for the pills they found,” implying that she felt the case might be dismissed by the judge on that basis and that, in any case, the trial would take only a single day, or perhaps two.
The other case, accusing Grandberry of being the “kingpin” of a local drug dealing ring, is expected to take five days, Goudy said, and she asked that it be tried following the prescription drug trial. That trial, Goudy told the judge, “will be at least five days. It’s a more difficult case because of the publicity and the press releases by the prosecution.”
But Deputy DA Steve Mallory, standing in for the lead prosecutor in the case, Deputy DA Scott Turner, said Turner wanted the “kingpin” case tried first. And since Turner was not in court on Thursday, Judge Lynch decided to wait until Turner’s views can be voiced in court before she will set any trial dates.
A hearing on the trial dates and other matters is set for Oct. 17.
Grandberry, who is from Carbondale, is being tried in three different cases stemming from the same set of circumstances — allegations that he was a supplier to a number of small-time drug dealers in the mid-valley area.
One case grew out of a mass roundup in December 2012 by approximately 40 police officers and agents of the Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team (TRIDENT). Grandberry was one of those arrested, according to police, “in the early hours of Dec. 12 ... without incident, at his home.”
Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson, in a statement issued on behalf of TRIDENT at the time of the arrests, said that during the nine-month investigating leading to the December arrests, undercover agents bought cocaine, ecstasy/MDMA, psilocybin mushrooms, marijuana, prescription drugs, one assault rifle, and one .38 caliber pistol. Wilson stated that the amounts of drugs involved were “predominantly user quantities,” with the exception of a couple of ounces of cocaine in one instance.
The second case against Grandberry involves a search of his home that allegedly turned up a quantity of prescription drugs, which police claim were being sold on the streets.
The third case accuses Grandberry of violating probation from an earlier court matter.
The Grandberry case was intertwined with another, subsequent arrest of some 25 alleged drug dealers around the Western Slope, which took place last spring, according to authorities.
Aurelio Aguilar, 42, of Carbondale was arrested on April 25 “somewhere around the Mesa County line, heading for Las Vegas with $95,000 in cash to buy drugs,” alleged Carbondale Police Chief Gene Schilling at that time.
Schilling noted that the four-month investigation leading to the arrests in May grew out of the earlier investigation that led to the December 2012 arrest of Grandberry.
Grandberry has been free on $30,000 bond since February, when Judge Lynch reduced his bail, which had started at $300,000 after he was arrested.