Court news: Theft warrant leads to Aspen cocaine arrest
ASPEN – Just one week following an Aspen man’s exit from jail after posting bond on a theft charge, he was arrested again on suspicion of credit-card fraud and cocaine possession.
Aspen police arrested Michael Melosh Kulik, 26, on Wednesday on a warrant out of Snowmass Village, where he was wanted on suspicion using another person’s credit card to rack up charges at the Silvertree Hotel and Zane’s Tavern. All told, police believe, Kulik charged $823.75 to the Silvertree, $275.75 at Zane’s in Snowmass and another $274.50 at La Palapa restaurant in Aspen, according to an affidavit from Snowmass Village Police Officer Jason Powell.
When Aspen police picked up Kulik at his Harmony Place apartment in Aspen, he got dressed and was escorted by officers to a patrol vehicle. As part of a routine search, police found a plastic bag containing cocaine in Kulik’s pants pocket, according to an affidavit from Aspen Officer Adam Loudon.
On Thursday, Pitkin County District Judge Gail Nichols advised Kulik that he faces felony charges of unauthorized use of a financial transaction device, identity theft, theft and possession of cocaine. The judge set bonds of $7,500 for the credit-card-related charges, and $2,500 for the cocaine charge. As part of a bond condition, Kulik must commit to a program at the Right Door, an Aspen rehabilitation facility for people with substance-abuse problems.
Kulik’s arrest came after he was apprehended Jan. 31 on felony charges of pocketing customers’ deposits placed on ski rentals while he worked at Aspen Sports on the Cooper Avenue mall. His managers said he bilked $2,434 over the course of 15 cash refunds from ski-rental transactions made with credit cards.
In other court news:
• A man charged with attempted second-degree murder is scheduled to appear in court Monday when a plea agreement is expected to be announced.
“We have reached a disposition,” attorney Lawson Wills said Monday in Pitkin County District Court. Wills, of Snowmass Village, is counsel for Jamie Lee Patton, who was arrested by Aspen police on Dec. 15, the same day as the alleged incident.
Nichols set the matter over for 10:30 a.m. Monday for Patton, 24, of El Jebel, who’s currently free on $20,000 bond.
Assistant district attorney Arnold Mordkin initially said he planned to charge Patton with attempted first-degree murder, stemming from a car chase he allegedly had with his ex-girlfriend. But nearly three weeks after the arrest, on Jan. 6, Mordkin reduced the charge to second-degree attempted murder.
A first-degree charge would have indicated that authorities believed Patton’s alleged crime was premeditated; second-degree implies that Patton had not planned it.
Mordkin and Wills this week declined to comment what kind of deal is in the works for Patton, who has attended three court hearings since his arrest.
Police say Patton threw a wrench at his ex’s vehicle. And at one point, when a male passenger got out of the woman’s car, Patton tried to run him over, law enforcement has alleged.
Mordkin has contended that the attempted murder charge is supported by the male accuser’s claim that Patton’s Jeep Cherokee grazed him. The alleged incident started on Highway 82 near the airport before culminating on Red Mountain Road near Willoughby Road.
Patton also is charged with attempted first-degree assault, two menacing counts and two stalking offenses, which are all felonies. He also faces three misdemeanor charges: criminal mischief, harassment and driving under restraint.
• Also Monday, Mordkin dismissed one count of felony mischief against Daniel Tamez in exchange for his guilty plea to misdemeanor criminal mischief. Tamez, 32, of Aspen, also agreed to pay $1,046 in restitution for a camera he destroyed in the holding area of the Pitkin County Jail.
“I apologize to the jail for my behavior,” Tamez said in court. “The actions do not reflect who I am. I want to assure you that I’m not drinking anymore, and you won’t see me here again.”
Tamez was taken to jail on the evening of Dec. 26 after police arrested him on suspicion of fighting someone outside the Regal Watering Hole in downtown Aspen.
He refused to sign a summons paper and threatened to kill a jail deputy, according to an incident report written by Deputy Levi Borst. Borst, whose report was based on interviews with jail officials and his own investigation, also wrote that Tamez “started kicking the door, and hitting the window of the cell with his hands and arms.”
Tamez then stood on the toilet and unsuccessfully tried to rip out a light fixture and then “began working on the security camera on the wall,” the report says. “Eventually, Tamez was able to pull the camera off the wall, breaking the wires. Tamez then began violently smashing the camera off the glass of the holding cell door.”
Wills, who also represented Tamez, said that Tamez showed “amazing maturity” and accepted responsibility for what he had done.
“Mr. Tamez feels awful about it,” Wills told the judge.
As part of the plea agreement, Tamez will serve one year of unsupervised probation.
• A visitor to Aspen faces deportation to his home country of Ethiopia after police found him in possession of cocaine.
Milkias Yoseph Hailu, 27, a college student in Denver, pleaded guilty Monday to possession of less than 4 grams of cocaine. Nichols gave him a one-year deferred sentence, meaning the conviction will be expunged from his record if he stays out of trouble for the next year.
Hailu, represented by Aspen attorney Mark Rubinstein, confessed to being in possession of cocaine but showed some hesitancy to admit any guilt.
“He’s ready to accept that he had cocaine on his person, but he does not know how it got there,” Rubinstein told the judge, who said he faces the threat of deportation because of the conviction.
Aspen police arrested Hailu on Jan. 2. A court affidavit says police saw him staggering through downtown, took him to jail and found a bag of cocaine in his possession. Hailu, a guest at the St. Regis Aspen, appeared “extremely intoxicated as he almost fell over on two occasions,” the affidavit says. “I watched as the male fell backward while looking at his cell phone and hit his head on a store window that was near to where he was standing.”
Police took him into protective custody. While Hailu was at Pitkin County Jail, a deputy did a routine search on his person and found a Ziploc-style bag with a white, powdery substance, which later tested positive for cocaine. The bag and its contents weighed 0.4 grams, the affidavit says.
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