Two sentenced following drug seizure during traffic stop
Two people arrested during a traffic stop that turned up meth, psychedelic mushrooms, drug paraphernalia and distribution packaging have been sentenced on different charges.
On Oct. 14, Grand County District Court Judge Mary Hoak sentenced Aaron Vanas, 44, to four years of community corrections for felony possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute. Four years was the maximum sentence under Vanas’ plea deal. He will receive 10 days credit for time served.
Community corrections is a residential supervision and treatment program, which provides an alternate to probation or prison.
In court, defense attorney Leslie Goldstein told Hoak that Vanas has struggled with addiction the majority of his adult life and was hoping to get treatment through probation or community corrections.
In rebuttal, 14th Judicial District Chief Deputy Attorney Kathryn Dowdell noted Vanas’ history of felony drug charges and the amount of drugs Vanas had on him at the time of his arrest, including over 23 grams of meth. Dowdell sought prison time for Vanas over community corrections or probation.
Hoak said it was clear Vanas has an addiction issue, but noted he had been clean for a decade in the past and avoided any charges during that time.
“I’m going to put this in your hands Mr. Vanas,” Hoak said. “Don’t even try to tough it out. You need to go and get the tools and figure out whatever program you want to work … and figure out how to get off drugs. Otherwise, you’re going to go to prison.”
Kremmling police arrested Vanas with Cassandra Retzer Castanon, 39, in March when officers discovered more than 23 grams of meth and 2.5 grams of psychedelic mushrooms during a traffic stop.
Vanas was originally charged with intent to distribute, felony possession of a controlled substance, misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia, driving with a restrained license and expired license plates. Under Vanas’ plea deal, the remaining charges were dismissed.
Retzer Castanon was sentenced by Grand County Court Judge Nicholas Catanzarite on Aug. 3 to 10 days in jail and two years unsupervised probation for misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance.
Under Retzer Castanon’s plea deal, charges of felony possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to distribute and misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia were dismissed.
Retzer Castanon was also ordered to finish 75 hours of community service, as well as undergo mental health and substance abuse evaluations. Retzer Castanon has until Dec. 3 to report to the Grand County Jail for her sentence.
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The Grand County Sheriff’s Office fielded 189 calls from Nov. 21-27 while dispatchers answered 509 calls for all first-responder agencies in the county.