Sheehan hatches deal in Aspen cocaine case |

Sheehan hatches deal in Aspen cocaine case

Rick CarrollThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO, Colorado

DENVER – Snowmass Village resident Christopher Sheehan, who has been incarcerated since federal agents arrested him in May at an airport on felony drug trafficking charges, has struck an agreement with prosecutors that could soon see him out of custody.Documents that Sheehan’s defense firm filed late Thursday in U.S. District Court in Denver indicate that “a plea deal has been reached” for the 65-year-old defendant, and that “he has already served the sentence that could be imposed if the Court adopts this sentencing agreement.”The pending settlement comes nearly six months after Sheehan’s arrest May 19. That day federal agents detained him at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport after he disembarked from an aircraft that had arrived via Costa Rica, where he owns property. He was among 10 people – including six locals – a federal grand jury in Denver indicted on cocaine trafficking counts on April 19. Prosecutors had considered Sheehan a flight risk, and following a June detention hearing in Denver, a federal judge ordered him to remain in custody without bond. But a motion filed Thursday for a bond setting, by Sheehan’s firm Springer & Steinberg PC of Denver, says the government, because of “a significant change of circumstances,” has agreed to release the defendant from custody, “along with the requirement that he wear an ankle bracelet.”Harvey Steinberg, the lawyer who made Thursday’s filing on Sheehan’s behalf, was not available for immediate comment Thursday. Just Monday, Sheehan’s firm had filed a series of motions in the buildup for his trial, set for February. One of the motions asked the prosecution to disclose the name of its paid informant who had worked on the investigation since March 2010. Another motion asked for details surrounding the previous deals for the other defendants in the case. A third motion aimed to suppress the evidence that federal agents collected from Sheehan’s house on Juniper Hill Drive in Snowmass, on the basis that there was not sufficient probable cause outlined in the application for the warrant, which a member of the Drug Enforcement Administration filed. But with Thursday’s notice of a disposition, hearings for those motions have been effectively vacated. Court documents and testimony show that the confidential informant had witnessed Sheehan buy cocaine from Wayne Alan Reid, 65, of Snowmass, on several occasions. The warrant also says that the informant had known Sheehan personally for “years,” during which time he “regularly” bought cocaine from Reid. As recently as March, Sheehan paid $10,000 for 10 ounces of cocaine from Reid, based on information the source gave the DEA, according to court filings. Prosecutors believe that Reid, who also is in custody without bond – only he and Sheehan have remained incarcerated since the arrests – was the leader of the alleged network, which they say has been operating for the past 15 years between Aspen and Los Angeles and had connections to Mexican drug cartels.DEA agent Jim Schrant, the resident in charge of the Grand Junction office who headed the investigation, said Thursday he could not comment on Sheehan’s case or his alleged role in the network.Spokesman Jeff Dorschner of the U.S. Department of Justice in Denver was unavailable for comment Thursday.