Man to be tried on false ID, drug charges
A man who says he’s in the country illegally will be tried on charges of cocaine possession and twice providing a false identity to the same deputy who pulled him over on two separate occasions.
That was the decision Wednesday from District Court Judge Gail Nichols, who determined after a preliminary hearing that probable cause exists to charge Jose Eduardo Alvarez-Vazquez, 27, with the crimes. She also warned him that if he is, indeed, in the U.S. illegally, he will be automatically deported if he’s found guilty of the drug crime.
Alvarez-Vazquez was first stopped by Pitkin County sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Turner on Jan. 31 after he failed to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk on Main Street and Garmisch Street. At that time, he gave Turner a suspect Mexican driver’s license with the name “Eduardo Alvarez-Vazquez” on it and a birthday of May 3, 1989.
Turner, who testified at the hearing Wednesday, first noticed the license was unlike any other Mexican license he’d seen. Then he noticed a “bizarre white, almost transparent substance” encrusted on the bottom of the license he thought might be cocaine.
Turner called another deputy, who came to the location with a test kit that determined the substance to be cocaine. That deputy, Levi Borst, testified that he then noticed a baggie containing a white powder, which later tested positive for cocaine, on the floor behind the driver’s seat.
Alvarez-Vazquez, who allowed the car to be searched, was then arrested under the false name, though he later told a deputy at the Pitkin County Jail his real name and date of birth of January 1988, and that he was in the country illegally, the deputies testified.
Then May 8, Turner was leaving the scene of an accident downvalley when he saw a car going 72 mph in a 55 mph zone and pulled it over. He recognized Alvarez-Vazquez from four months earlier, but said he couldn’t remember his name.
Alvarez-Vazquez said he didn’t have any identification on him, so Turner asked him to write down his name on a piece of paper. He wrote down “Alan Alejandro Herber Lopez” with a date of birth of Dec. 12, 1985.
Turner said that while he didn’t remember his name, he knew it was a Hispanic name.
“But when I read ‘Alan,’ I knew that wasn’t it,” Turner said.
Turner ended up having Alvarez-Vazquez’s January booking photo sent out to the scene, though Alvarez-Vazquez denied it was him.
Later, Alvarez-Vazquez “came clean” and admitted he’d given a false name because he’d missed court dates and knew he was in trouble, Turner said.
Alvarez-Vazquez’s next court appearance is July 20.
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State department of transportation crews are well on their way to clearing Highway 82 to Independence Pass, which should open on schedule May 27 at noon.