Suspected Aspen heroin dealer retains Denver lawyer |

Suspected Aspen heroin dealer retains Denver lawyer

Wyatt Haupt Jr.
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO, Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Suspected heroin dealer Ryan Welgos of Aspen has retained noted Front Range defense attorney Joseph Saint-Veltri to handle his case, according to documents filed in Garfield County District Court.

A motion substituting Saint-Veltri for Chip McCrory of Carbondale was filed on Feb. 4 with the court, located in Glenwood Springs.

Welgos, 31, was apparently behind the request.

“I don’t discuss my cases,” Saint-Veltri said when asked what might have prompted the decision to change attorneys.

The move comes two weeks before a hearing that could determine whether the case is transferred to Summit County.

Welgos is to appear Feb. 20 in Garfield County District Court as Judge Daniel B. Petre considers the change-of-venue motion.

The 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office filed the request Jan. 22. Assistant District Attorney Scott Turner said at the time the change was in order because the “actual act” took place in Summit County.

He also said a related case was transferred to Summit County. The 5th Judicial District covers Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake and Summit counties.

Welgos has been in jail since he was arrested June 19, with Nelson Gamez-Barriento in Silverthorne. Their arrests came on the heels of a three-month long investigation headed by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Welgos is being held on $40,00 bond in the Garfield County jail.

The investigation stemmed from the March overdose death of Adam Ryan Peterson. He was visiting Aspen at the time of his death.

The case against Gamez-Barriento was transferred in mid-December to Summit County. He is to next appear in Summit County Court in March.

Gamez-Barriento is also known as Nelson Raul Gamez-Barriento.

Gregory Elston, a third suspect in the case, was given a two-year deferred sentence and two years of supervised probation for possession of a schedule II substance. It was part of a plea agreement he reached in October.

In exchange, prosecutors dropped a heroin distribution charge against Elston, an Aspen resident.

Saint-Veltri has been retained by a number of people in Aspen, including one-time socialite Pamela Phillips. She is wanted in connection with a murder warrant issued in Arizona.

It is not clear whether she is still his client. Phillips is believed to be in Switzerland.

A plea agreement appears to be in the works for alleged drug trafficker Nelson Gamez-Barriento, who stands accused of multiple felonies in connection with his June arrest in Silverthorne.

Deputy prosecutor Anne Francis of the Fifth Judicial District said Tuesday she plans to file an amended complaint this week that would dismiss seven of the nine charges filed in the case.

The prosecution would move forward “only with counts two and three,” Francis said.

The amended complaint would charge Gamez-Barriento with possession with distribution of a schedule I controlled substance, allegedly heroin, and intent to distribute.

Gamez-Barriento apparently has until Feb. 25 to accept a plea deal on those counts or head to trial. A recommended prison sentence has not been determined by the district attorney’s office. Those counts carry a potential penalty of more than 30 years in prison should Gamez-Barriento be convicted.

He is scheduled to next appear March 9 in Summit County Court.

Gamez-Barriento was arrested June 19, with Ryan Welgos of Aspen in Silverthorne, following an investigation headed by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

His case was transferred to Summit County after a Garfield County District Court judge found probable cause to try Gamez-Barriento on multiple felonies in connection with a heroin distribution network that reached into Aspen.

Gamez-Barriento is also known as Nelson Raul Gamez-Barriento.

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