Pending drug charges mount against Carbondale man
ASPEN – A Carbondale man was advised Wednesday of multiple counts connected to cocaine possession and distribution on a Garfield County warrant, further compounding his legal problems that include an Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold.
Francisco Javier Hernandez Garcia, 32, was told in Pitkin County District Court that he faces two felonies for possession with intent to distribute cocaine, which carry potential prison sentences of four to 16 years. Additionally, he faces felony cocaine possession charges, which have prison-sentence ranges of four to 12 years.
Through a translator, Garcia was advised of the charges, which Deputy District Attorney Arnold Mordkin indicated he will file later.
Garcia was arrested Friday in Snowmass Village on the Garfield County warrant. He was nabbed as part of an investigation by the Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team (TRIDENT), which had obtained a warrant for his arrest.
Aiding in the arrest was Snowmass police officer Brady Jax, who wrote in an affidavit that the arrest was made shortly after he visited Garcia at his place of work, Pastore’s Taste of Philly in Snowmass Village.
Jax wrote that he and a TRIDENT officer entered the Taste of Philly kitchen through the back door, and asked Garcia to step outside.
When Jax searched the suspect at the time of the arrest, he discovered three baggies containing cocaine, Jax wrote in the affidavit. Jax’s alleged discovery led to pending charges separate from those in the Garfield County warrant.
Hernandez Garcia admitted that the substance was cocaine, and that it was intended to be used by him and his friends, Jax wrote.
The suspect was deported from the United States in 2007, Jax said in the affidavit.
But Garcia told court officials this week he has never been deported. Prosecutor Mordkin said Garcia could be confused, in that he was ordered to be deported but was never actually relocated.
Whatever the case, an ICE “hold” has been placed on Garcia, meaning that even if he posts the $20,000 bond set by Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely, he cannot be released from custody because of his immigration status.
Garcia’s next court appearance is scheduled for Monday.
Robby Pastore, owner of Taste of Philly, said in a series of discussions with The Aspen Times that he had no knowledge of Garcia being deported. He also said he had no knowledge that Garcia was allegedly selling cocaine.
Pastore said he runs a clean business. He also said police did not come by Taste of Philly to arrest Garcia, despite what Jax reported in the affidavit.
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Fire crews are responding to a wildland fire that started Friday afternoon off Highway 82 near Old Snowmass, officials said.