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Two men arrested for over a ton of marijuana ordered to halfway house

John Colson

A judge ordered two Roaring Fork Valley men to stay at a halfway house in Denver while they await trial on charges stemming from an arrest in which 2,500 pounds of marijuana was seized.

A third man is being held in a federal detention center in Englewood, following a hearing Tuesday.

The three – Chris Tache of Aspen, Steve Doris of Snowmass Village and David Smith of Glenwood Springs – were arrested by state and federal drug agents on March 21 and charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute.

The charges carry a minimum 10-year prison term for each defendant if convicted.

According to authorities, the three were caught unloading pineapples at a Denver warehouse from a truck that also allegedly contained 2,500 pounds of marijuana.

The three were allegedly turned in by former Basalt businessman John Dugery, now of Tucson, Ariz., who was busted in 1998 for a separate drug running operation. Authorities said the semi-truck carrying the pineapples and pot came into the United States from Juarez, Mexico, on March 9.

Doris, Smith and Tache were initially held in the Denver County Jail, before being taken by U.S. Marshals to the federal detention center to await Tuesday’s hearing before U.S. Magistrate O. Edward Schlatter.

At the hearing, the magistrate ruled that Tache, 38, and Smith, 48, be sent to a halfway house while they await trial, after they each pay a $10,000 bond.

But, according to the minutes of the hearing, the alleged leader of the group of three, Doris, 37, is to be held at the maximum security federal detention center because he is considered “a flight risk and a danger to the community.” The danger, according to the court, is reflected by the size of the drug shipment Smith allegedly was working on.

According to the court minutes, both Tache and Smith are to get and keep jobs while they are in the halfway house; not travel outside Colorado and surrender their passports to federal authorities; submit to periodic urine analysis testing and drug treatment therapy if ordered; and not drink alcohol, use drugs or posses firearms while awaiting trial.

The order also prohibits either man from acting “as an informant for any law enforcement agency without prior permission from the Court.”

It could not be determined whether Tache and Smith would be allowed to return to the Roaring Fork Valley while awaiting trial.

All three men will be represented by attorneys appointed to their cases by the court. Doris is being represented by Janine Yunker of the Federal Public Defender’s Office, while both Smith and Tache have had private attorneys appointed by the judge to represent them.

Attorney Scott Poland, representing Smith, said he is not sure yet whether he and the other defense attorneys will file motions to have the men’s cases heard separately, and that for now they will continue to be heard jointly.

Kathleen Tafoya, the assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting the cases, could not be reached for comment.

Deputy court clerk Lucy Kenyon said that family members of both Doris and Smith were present in court on Tuesday, but that she was not aware of any Tache family members in the courtroom.

The next hearing on the case is scheduled for April 12.

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