High Country Crime: ‘No evidence’ as judge drops pot charge against Eagle county surveyor
There’s not enough evidence to charge Ted Archibeque, the Eagle County surveyor, with one of the marijuana charges he faced, even by Colorado’s low standards, a judge ruled.
Eagle County Court Judge Katharine Sullivan handed Ted Archibeque a victory Tuesday when she threw out the most serious charge, distribution, that he faced stemming from the raid on a grow operation in Sweetwater. Archibeque still faces a charge of illegal cultivation, a Class 3 felony.
To send a charge to trial, the evidence has to be viewed in “a light most favorable” to prosecutors, according to Colorado law.
Sullivan ruled that the evidence for a distribution charge against Ted Archibeque did not meet even that low standard.
“There was no evidence presented to the court that Theodore knew anything about possible selling or distribution of marijuana,” Sullivan wrote in her ruling.
Ted Archibeque still faces a cultivation charge. His brother, Tom Archibeque, still faces charges of both distribution and cultivation.
The case stems from a Nov. 1, 2016, raid by local law enforcement and federal agents of property in Sweetwater owned by the Archibeques’ mother. Medical marijuana was being grown on the property.
Federal officials declined to prosecute the case, so charges were filed by the Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s Office, confirmed District Attorney Bruce Brown.
Both Ted and Tom Archibeque say they’ll plead not guilty and are anxious to make their case at trial.
The whole thing began in August of 2016, when a government pilot flew over a parcel of Sweetwater property owned by the Archibeques’ mother, property that Ted Archibeque had deeded to his mother in March 2016.
When agents raided the Sweetwater property, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration found 28 marijuana plants growing on the property.
The case now moves to District Court and Judge Paul Dunkelman. Ted Archibeque makes his first District Court appearance July 12. Tom Archibeque’s first district court appearance is July 19.
Suspicious husband crashes car, “hauls ass” to Mexico
Parachute police responded to reports of a hit and run on Colorado Avenue the night of June 12.
Police met with a 27-year-old woman who said the driver was her estranged husband. The 35-year-old man showed up at the apartment complex intoxicated and accused her of cheating on him, she said.
She told him to leave, and as he was leaving, she called out to him to not hit any vehicles on the way out. At this point, she said, he put his vehicle in reverse and “stepped on the gas,” accelerating toward her and smashing into a parked car.
Later, speaking with police on the phone, and slurring his words heavily, the husband admitted to having hit the parked vehicle and said he was driving to Mexico. Asked where he was, he kept giving different locations. First he said he was in Fruita, then Mack, then St. George, Utah.
The officer told the husband it would be impossible for him to be that far as St. George is a six-hour drive away. But “he insisted that he was in a Camaro with twin NOS systems and hauling ass,” the officer wrote.
The 35-year-old was arrested on felony attempted vehicular assault, along with misdemeanors for reckless driving, duty to report an accident, duty upon striking unattended vehicle, violation of a restraining order, reckless endangerment and no proof of insurance. Domestic violence was applied as a sentence enhancer.
Former Aspen employee arrested for theft
A former employee of an area temporary worker agency was arrested Thursday, June 22, and charged with stealing more than $16,000 from the business, according to court documents.
George Wood, 36, of Avon, is facing charges of felony fraud by check and felony theft, according to an affidavit filed in Pitkin County District Court.
Wood worked for Mountain Temp Services at the Aspen Business Center from May 2015 to January 2016, when he was authorized to use the business’ petty-cash account, the affidavit states.
More than a year after Wood stopped working at the agency — on March 8 — the business’ owner noticed fraudulent activity with the account and immediately froze the account and called the bank. The bank later notified him that Wood was responsible for withdrawing the funds on three separate occasions from banks in California, according to the affidavit.
The first two withdrawals of $287.60 and $8,000 were made March 6 from a bank branch in Chula Vista, California, the affidavit states. The third withdrawal of $8,000 was made the next day from a branch in San Ysidro, California, according to the affidavit.
The owner later identified Wood from time-stamped pictures supplied by the bank in California.
Trial date set for Craig power plant worker charged with manslaughter
Justin Blodgett, a Craig Station contract worker who was charged with manslaughter after the death of a co-worker in late March, appeared in Moffat County Court Tuesday afternoon, June 20, for an arraignment hearing.
Blodgett, 26, of Grand Junction, pleaded not guilty to manslaughter, and 14th Judicial District Chief Judge Michael O’Hara set a seven-day trial date for Nov. 30.
The wife of the victim, 36-year-old Raymond Terrill from Ozark, Missouri, called into the hearing by phone.
Terrill and Blodgett had been drinking together the night of the incident and got into a fight. Blodgett allegedly punched Terrill, according to the arrest affidavit, and Terrill fell to the ground unconscious in the alleyway behind the Trav-O-Tel Motel in Craig. Emergency responders were unable to revive him.
The 14th Judicial District Attorney offered Blodgett a deal to plead guilty to criminally negligent homicide, a less severe charge than manslaughter with no mandated sentence. Blodgett did not accept the deal, but the DA offered to keep the option on the table until early September.
The DA has until July 18 to file additional charges and a motions hearing was also set for 2:30 p.m. Sept. 30.
—Compiled from the Aspen Times, Craig Daily Press, Glenwood Springs Post-Independent and Vail Daily
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