Snowmass resident sentenced in federal cocaine case | AspenTimes.com

Snowmass resident sentenced in federal cocaine case

DENVER – A Snowmass Village resident fingered by federal agents for cocaine trafficking was handed down a one-year prison term Monday.

At a 26-minute hearing in U.S. District Court in Denver, Judge Marcia S. Krieger issued the sentence to Christopher Sheehan, which also includes three years of supervised probation, according to court records.

Sheehan, 67, was among seven Aspen-area residents, and another three from the Southern California region, indicted by a Denver grand jury in April 2011. Federal agents detained Sheehan at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport on May 19, 2010, after he disembarked from an aircraft that had arrived via Costa Rica, where he owns property.

Court documents and testimony show that a confidential informant had witnessed Sheehan buying 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 2011, 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 was the leader of the alleged network, which they say operated for 15 years between Aspen and Los Angeles and had connections to Mexican drug cartels. Reid, who has pleaded guilty to cocaine conspiracy charges, is scheduled to be sentenced in November. He faces four to six years in prison.

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Sheehan, however, won’t spend any more time behind bars, as he was in custody for more than one year after his arrest.

In January, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy with intent to distribute a controlled substance. The prosecution, in return, dropped two other charges.

The plea agreement also calls for Sheehan to pay the government $250,000 upon the sale of his Juniper Hill Drive home, which feds took steps to seize the day of his arrest.

Court filings by the prosecution suggest that Sheehan worked with the prosecution while in custody.

“Mr. Sheehan was interviewed by law enforcement officers assigned to this investigation, and he provided truthful information as to his involvement with this offense and the involvement of others,” says a June 15 motion by the prosecution, which lobbied for a leaner sentence due to Sheehan’s cooperation with authorities. “The defendant’s information was significant and helpful to the government’s ongoing investigations of criminal activities in the District of Colorado and elsewhere.”

rcarroll@aspentimes.com