Arizona baseball player changes plea to guilty on Eagle County drug trafficking charges
After initially pleading not guilty, a former Arizona minor league baseball player pleaded guilty to trafficking drugs through Eagle County at a court hearing Wednesday morning.
Jesus Camargo-Corrales, 25, reversed his plea to accept an offer from the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. He chose to plead guilty to one class 1 drug felony instead of going to trial to fight his full list of charges: six drug felonies and two “special offender” sentence enhancers.
Camargo-Corrales originally faced four Class 1 drug felonies — the highest level of drug charge in Colorado — and two Class 4 drug felonies for his alleged possession and intent to distribute the 21 pounds of suspected methamphetamine and 1.2 pounds of suspected oxycodone pills found in his car during a March 17 bust in Eagle.
He was also charged with two “special offender” sentence enhancers because of the large quantity of drugs involved and their import into Colorado, according to court records.
Camargo-Corrales was a pitcher for a few minor league baseball teams, most recently playing for the South Bend Cubs, an affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, according to his profile on the official website of Minor League Baseball.
On March 22, five days after his arrest, the South Bend Cubs placed Camargo-Corrales on the league’s “restricted list,” according to the profile.
Camargo-Corrales is originally from Sinaloa, Mexico, but was living in Tempe, Arizona, when he was arrested in Eagle back in March.
Nothing was said at Wednesday’s plea hearing to indicate why Camargo-Corrales chose to vacate his trial date and change his plea to guilty.
“Do you understand that today is a final decision, once you enter this guilty plea it’s very difficult to change your mind?” 5th Judicial District Court Judge Paul R. Dunkelman asked Camargo-Corrales Wednesday.
Yes, he understands, Camargo-Corrales said through the court’s interpreter.
He then proceeded to enter an official guilty plea on one count: possession with the intent to manufacture or distribute a controlled substance weighing more than 225 grams.
The charge is a class 1 drug felony punishable by not less than 8 and no more than 32 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections, Dunkelman said. This also includes a mandatory parole period of three years and fines of anywhere from $5,000 to $1 million, plus a “drug offender surcharge” of $4,500.
However, the plea agreement stipulates that Camargo-Corrales be sentenced in the range of 10-15 years in prison.
As for a sentencing hearing, Dunkelman initially suggested it be held on the morning of Dec. 8, but Camargo-Corrales’ defense attorney requested that it be pushed further out.
This would give the defense more time to receive and respond to the pre-sentence investigation conducted by the probation department, which takes anywhere from two weeks to 30 days to produce and provides an added layer of evidence for the judge to consider before handing down a sentence.
Factoring in the Christmas holiday, the defense asked for a January sentencing hearing.
“So, we’re not going to push it out that far for a number of reasons,” Dunkelman said.
The first is because Camargo-Corrales would have to sit in the Eagle County jail until then and would not receive “credit” for that time already served if he is sentenced to incarceration in the Colorado Department of Corrections. Jails and state prisons run on different “credit” systems, so those months of sitting in county jail would not count toward his prison sentence, Dunkelman said.
“And the other is, I don’t think it’s a good practice to have somebody with a lengthy (Department of Corrections) sentence sitting in a county jail,” Dunkelman said.
The sentencing hearing was ultimately set for the morning of Dec. 22.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
A person who died fleeing the scene of an alleged burglary attempt earlier this month in Glenwood Springs was identified Tuesday.