Suspected Aspen heroin dealer’s hearing delayed again |

Suspected Aspen heroin dealer’s hearing delayed again

Wyatt Haupt Jr.
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Suspected heroin dealer Ryan Welgos of Aspen will spend at least two more weeks behind bars after a hearing that could have led to his release was postponed Thursday.

Welgos, 31, has been awaiting a decision on a potential plea agreement that would call for him to plead guilty in Garfield County Court to attempted distribution of a schedule I controlled substance.

In exchange, Welgos would receive a suspended sentence of three to six years in state prison, as long as he entered and completed drug court. He had faced nine felony counts, ranging from conspiracy to distribute drugs to drug possession with intent to distribute.

The proposal, originally brokered in November, has been delayed because of a change in attorneys.

Snowmass Village attorney Arnold P. Mordkin had represented Welgos. But Mordkin had to withdraw from the case, shortly after he brokered the deal with prosecutors, because he agreed to head the district attorney’s office in Aspen.

Mordkin has since filled the position.

As a result, Carbondale defense attorney Chip McCrory stepped in to take the case, and a special prosecutor had to be named to avoid a potential conflict of interest.

That prompted Judge Daniel Petre to order the new attorneys in the case to review the deal before he or another judge could potentially sign off on the proposal. As of Thursday, a special prosecutor had not been named in the case, although the court approved an order authorizing the appointment in early December.

“We’re frustrated. No progress for two months,” said McCrory outside the courtroom after the hearing was postponed Thursday.

Senior District Court Judge Ed Ruland scheduled a follow-up hearing for 8:15 a.m., Jan. 22. At that time, it is believed a special prosecutor will be in place.

“One would hope,” McCrory said.

McCrory also filed a motion Thursday to reduce the $40,000 bond Welgos is being held on at the Garfield County jail. The thinking is that if there is another postponement in the case, the court might approve the motion and allow Welgos to go free while the two sides tie up any loose ends.

The motion calls for Welgos to be released on a personal recognizance bond.

Welgos has been locked up since he was arrested June 19, with Nelson Raul-Gamez in Silverthorne, after an investigation headed by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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

The case against Raul-Gamez was transferred last month to Summit County

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.

As part of the deal, prosecutors dropped a heroin distribution charge against Elston, an Aspen resident.

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