Lawyer for heroin suspect says Garfield County is wrong jurisdiction | AspenTimes.com

Lawyer for heroin suspect says Garfield County is wrong jurisdiction

Wyatt Haupt Jr.
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO, Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” The attorney for a key figure in an alleged heroin distribution network in Aspen sought Thursday to dismiss the case against her client on jurisdictional and constitutional grounds.

Defense attorney Kathy Goudy filed a motion in Garfield County District Court on behalf of her client, Nelson Raul-Gamez, who faces multiple charges. The motion, filed with District Judge Daniel Petre, claimed Garfield County wasn’t the proper place for Raul-Gamez to be tried because it did not have jurisdiction in the matter.

The motion also claimed that the constitutional rights of Raul-Gamez would be violated should his case continue in Garfield County because he has the right to a “trial before a jury drawn from citizens of the district in which the crimes allegedly occurred.”

Goudy reasoned the alleged crimes, characterized as drug sales, happened in Jefferson and Summit counties.

The judge accepted the motion but did not rule on the issue. Petre also scheduled a Dec. 12 preliminary hearing, at which he could also decide on the motion to dismiss the case.

Raul-Gamez, an Aurora resident, was arrested June 19 in Silverthorne along with Ryan Welgos of Aspen. They were 24, and 30 years old, respectively, at the time of arrest.

The arrests stemmed from a three-month investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) after the March overdose death of Aspen visitor Adam Steven Peterson. Aiding in the investigation was the Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Agency, also known as TRIDENT.

Raul-Gamez and Welgos were both charged with distribution of heroin, conspiracy to distribute heroin, possession of heroin and possession with the intent to distribute, the DEA said at the time. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, the DEA said.

A third suspect in the case, Gregory Elston, pleaded guilty last month to possession of a schedule II substance as part of a plea agreement that will drop a heroin distribution charge against the Aspen resident.

Elston’s plea deal came after he surrendered to Aspen police Oct. 2 on a warrant that alleged he supplied heroin to Peterson, 23, who died after he used heroin and cocaine together in a method known as “speed-balling.”

Elston is set to appear Dec. 1 in Pitkin County District Court for a sentencing and disposition hearing. At the hearing, it is anticipated that the heroin distribution charge will be dropped and Elston will be given a two-year deferred judgment.

That means the conviction will not go on Elston’s record if he stays out of trouble for a period of two years.

whaupt@aspentimes.com


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