Twists and turns in courtroom as Silverthorne dentist sentenced for role in illegal pill mill
A bizarre scene played out at the Summit County Justice Center on Monday afternoon.
Bonifacio Guillena III, a former dentist operating out of the Comfort Dental in Silverthorne, was sentenced to three years in a community corrections facility for his role in illegally distributing prescriptions. Minutes later, he was resentenced to prison after violating the terms of his sentence, a move that was overturned an hour later by the court in what was a rollercoaster day for the defendant.
Guillena, 42, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance in January after he was caught illegally distributing prescriptions to employees for substances such as Xanax, Percocet and oxycodone as far back as February 2017.
At the sparsely attended hearing, District Attorney Bruce Brown called for an aggravated community corrections sentence in lieu of sending Guillena to the department of corrections. Brown noted there were aggravating factors in the case, such as Guillena’s prior criminal history, the fact that he was on probation during the time of the offense and that he attempted to defraud the justice system by cheating on a urinalysis. Despite the other factors, Brown said he felt a community corrections sentence was most appropriate to help Guillena face his substance abuse issues.
“He attributes the continued criminality primarily to the use of alcohol,” said Brown. “Obviously he has a problem with substances, which is why in large part a community corrections sentence might serve him well in hopes he’ll get treatment for his addiction. … The man is his own worst enemy, but we should give him an opportunity to rehabilitate in a controlled setting, and reintroduce him to the community slowly so he can reconnect professionally and with his family.”
Guillena’s attorney, Kevin Jensen, called for probation since Guillena had already taken significant steps to address his addiction by voluntarily undergoing treatment, and argued that moving Guillena to a community corrections facility in Montrose would slow the progress he’s made to this point.
“To uproot him and move him to Montrose could have a negative impact on his recovery,” said Jensen. “We’re asking for a probationary sentence … and that way Mr. Guillena can focus on the crux of the issue, substance abuse and getting himself help.”
Guillena, who seemed well composed throughout the process, also spoke on his own behalf at the sentencing. He spoke about how he became a dentist in order to help people deal with their pain and how that desire lead him to feed into others’ addictive behaviors. Guillena took responsibility for his actions, admitting that he’d hurt the dental profession, his family and his community in the process.
“I know I have a problem,” said Guillena. “I admit to it and I’m willing to take the steps to become a healthy person, not only for myself but for my kids.”
Chief Judge Mark Thompson applauded Guillena’s efforts to seek help, but rejected the defense’s request for probation saying that he believed a more structured sentence would go further in helping him to make better choices moving forward.
“You appear to be well intentioned in making progress towards recovery,” Thompson told Guillena. “What is most evident to me looking at the whole picture is a significant issue with a low level of self control when it’s a self-serving objective. That speaks to this court in terms of your need for structure and more intense supervision than just probation.”
Thompson sentenced Guillena to three years in a community corrections facility in Montrose. Thompson gave Guillena credit for 20 days served, and stayed the sentence until May 6th so that Guillena could reach resolutions on other open cases in Weld County and Littleton.
However, just minutes after the sentencing Guillena was in trouble once again.
District Attorney Brown said that following the hearing Guillena confronted him and began “mouthing off” in a very rude fashion. Guillena was immediately taken back into the courtroom, where he was resentenced to three years in the department of corrections and remanded into custody for violating the terms of his stay.
About an hour later, the court rescinded the prison sentence claiming it was improperly imposed because Guillena was not afforded another hearing or opportunity for mitigation on the sentence. Additionally, the court determined that because Guillena confronted Brown outside the presence of the court, there was no actual violation of the court’s conditions for the stay on the community corrections sentence.
Guillena was taken into custody for indirect contempt, though he’s expected to be released on April 3. He’s scheduled to begin his three-year community corrections sentence on May 6.
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