Romanian gets plea deal on Aspen cocaine charge
September 25, 2014
A man from Romania who recently was arrested after he allegedly used cocaine in a downtown Aspen alley was sentenced to one year of unsupervised probation Monday.
Dan P. Gherman, 23, of Bucharest, also was ordered to pay a $1,000 "drug surcharge" as part of assessed fines and costs. The sentence was handed down by Pitkin County District Judge Gail Nichols on Tuesday following a plea agreement with the 9th Judicial District Attorney's Office.
Gherman, who was living in Snowmass Village and working in the area at the time of his arrest on Sept. 3, sought a speedy disposition in his case because he is set to return to his native country soon, according to court records. Originally facing a felony cocaine-possession charge, he ended up pleading guilty to a misdemeanor count of possessing Alprazolam, an anti-anxiety drug most commonly known by one of its trade names, Xanax.
There is no mention in the Aspen police affidavit supporting the arrest of Gherman that he possessed any form of Alprazolam. Court records suggest that the misdemeanor charge was added to accommodate the plea agreement, allowing the District Attorney's Office to dismiss the felony charge.
In the affidavit, Police Officer Adam Loudon wrote that he was on routine patrol near the alley between the 300 block of East Hopkins Avenue and the 300 block of East Hyman Avenue when he observed three men standing near a Dumpster.
One of the men, Loudon wrote, had his head near the lid of the Dumpster. Touching his face, he left the alley in one direction while the other two men left in the opposite direction, the affidavit said.
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"I exited the patrol car and looked on top of the Dumpster," Loudon wrote. "I observed … a paper cocaine bindle that was unwrapped and a white powdery substance next to it."
Loudon wrote that he made contact with the man, soon to be identified as Gherman, outside a South Galena Street nightspot. While talking with him, the officer said, "I could see he had white powder on and underneath his nose. … I told Gherman he could not do cocaine in the alley."
Gherman apologized to Loudon, the affidavit said, and told the policeman that he bought the cocaine for $40 from a man at an East Hopkins Avenue restaurant. Loudon wrote that he arrested Gherman and then returned to the alley to collect the evidence.
Court records indicate that Gherman had no previous criminal record.