Second arrestee in Bentley’s case appears in court
ASPEN – Authorities have placed an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer on Vicente Vasquez Gomez, whom police say gave them false information during Saturday’s sweep of Bentley’s at the Wheeler.
Gomez, 27, of parts unknown, appeared Wednesday in Pitkin County Court to face the class-three misdemeanor charge of false reporting, which carries up to six months in county jail or a $750 fine.
Prosecutor Richard Nedlin noted that “despite [the defendant’s] criminal history with domestic violence and immigration violations,” he was comfortable with a $250 personal recognizance bond for the suspect, who was represented by a public defender. Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely signed off the bond.
Authorities have not linked Gomez, a kitchen worker at Bentley’s, to any illegal drug activity at the downtown bar, on which Aspen police executed a search warrant Saturday and combed the tavern for three hours.
Also arrested was Aspen resident and Bentley’s employee Raul Perez Cortes, 50, whom authorities say had 60 grams of uncut, pure cocaine and $2,500 in cash at the time of his arrest. He appeared in Pitkin County District Court on Monday, during which time his bond was set at $20,000 in connection with the felony charge of possession with intent to distribute cocaine, 25 to 450 grams. A conviction carries four to 16 years in the Department of Corrections.
Police also are looking for a third suspect who worked in the kitchen at Bentley’s. Police said search of the suspect’s home yielded 38 grams of cocaine and approximately $1,400 in cash.
In other court news:
• A plea deal is in the works for Esau Rodriguez, 22, of Aspen Village, who was arrested in September on one count of sexual assault on a child, a class-four felony.
Rodriguez has been in the custody of Pitkin County Jail on $25,000 bond since his arrest. Authorities allege that he assaulted a child in December 2009.
Rodriguez appeared in Pitkin County District Court on Monday, during which time Assistant District Attorney Arnold Mordkin told Judge Gail Nichols that an offer has been made to the defendant.
Tina Fang, the public defender representing Rodriguez, said she planned to mull over the offer. Nichols, meanwhile, told both sides to stop “dilly dallying” while “having him sit in Pitkin County Jail.”
Both Fang and Mordkin explained that they have been busy – Fang recently spent a month in a murder trial in Meeker – and were on course to hatch a deal. Mordkin also told the judge that any time Rodriguez spends in jail will be applied to whatever sentence he receives.
Even so, Nichols implored them to move quickly on the case, adding that if a deal is not reached by Rodriguez’s next court date – March 7 – she will enter a not guilty plea for him and set the matter over for trial.
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A judge denied an Aspen-area restaurant group’s 11th-hour attempt to suspend a public health order that takes effect Sunday prohibiting indoor dining in Aspen, Snowmass Village and the rest of Pitkin County.