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Drug dealers face prison time

Aspen Times Staff Report

Two Carbondale drug dealers were sentenced to prison terms last week in Glenwood Springs District Court, following their March arrests by the Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team (TRIDENT).

Blas Meraz, 43, received a two-year sentence to the Colorado Department of Corrections from Judge Gaspar Perricone, and co-defendant Anna Marie Barela, Meraz’s girlfriend, received a one-year prison term, according to a written statement from TRIDENT.

“Both of these individuals were selling cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine out of their former home at 966 Main St., Carbondale,” said Rich Orman, deputy district attorney and prosecutor in the case. “They ran a well-organized, very professional distribution operation that even had regular business hours with a closing time of 10 p.m.”

According to TRIDENT, Meraz and Barela had initially been charged with possession of cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana with the intent to distribute – all class 3 or class 4 felonies. Meraz pled guilty to criminal attempt to distribute a “schedule 2” controlled substance, a class 4 felony, and the other charges were dismissed. However, Barela pled guilty to possession of eight ounces or more of marijuana, a class 5 felony.

Barela was given a more favorable plea agreement because she cooperated with authorities by continuing to sell mock drugs to would-be customers into the night following her March 19 arrest, according to TRIDENT. Five persons were arrested as a result of Barela’s assistance, TRIDENT said.

“Almost all of these individuals [arrested with Barela’s help] said that they were happy that this happened to them, because it gave them the wake-up call they needed to finally address their substance abuse problems in a serious way,” Orman said. “A couple of them even said that getting arrested in this case was the best thing that ever happened to them in their entire lives.”


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