CO Deputy Has Been Fighting I-70 Drug Trafficking for Over 20 Years

Drug trafficking is a battle that Colorado has been fighting for decades. One of the most valuable weapons the state has against drug trafficking? It is actually a person.

One particular Colorado deputy has made drug busts along the I-70 highway his life mission, and more than twenty years later, he’s well on his way.

The Mesa County Deputy with 1,000+ Seizures Under His Belt

During the deputy’s time policing his beat, he’s confiscated more than 20 tons of illegal drugs over the course of more than a thousand individual seizures.

From meth to cocaine, the deputy and his K9 are known for their ability to sniff out drug traffickers. His busts average about 20 lbs, which is more than enough to charge anyone with drug trafficking.

That crime carries much harsher penalties than simple drug possession. In fact, the difference can mean decades in jail.

Drug Trafficking vs. Drug Possession in Colorado

Drug trafficking is charged when someone is carrying an excessive amount of an illegal or controlled substance. The assumption is that above a certain threshold amount of a given substance, there is no way someone could intend to use all of it personally.

Instead, the only reason to have so much of a substance would be to bring it to others, and thresholds are different for every substance. Once a person reaches it, the offense triggers a drug trafficking charge.

Charges range from a Level 1 drug misdemeanor to a Level 1 drug felony. The rule of thumb, as you could guess, is the more of the substance a person possesses, the higher the penalties.

Level 1 Drug Misdemeanor: The Lowest Drug Trafficking Charge

A level 1 drug misdemeanor involves either a schedule V drug or simply transferring less than 4 grams of a schedule III or IV drug. Selling less than 4 grams of a schedule III or IV substance bumps up the charge to a felony.

Level 1 Drug Felony: The Highest Drug Trafficking Charge

The highest charge is a level 1 drug felony. Any trafficking charge for amounts larger than amounts specified by Colorado law (usually at least 112 grams) is automatically a level 1 charge. Exact felony charges always depend upon the substance.

So how do we know what amount of which substances garners the various charges? Nearly every drug on the market is classified by law into a specific “drug schedule” or category.

Colorado Drug Schedules According to Law

Colorado Drug Trafficking Lawyer

According to Colorado drug laws, substances are classified into one of five categories: Schedules I, II, III, IV, and V. Simple enough.

Schedule V Drugs

Schedule V drugs include certain codeine cough syrups, Lyrica, and ezogabine. These are controlled but widely accepted to have little risk for abuse compared to how they help people.

Schedule IV and III Drugs

Schedule IV and III drugs include:

  • Xanax
  • Valium
  • Klonopin
  • Vicodin
  • Suboxone

These drugs have legitimate medical uses and are regularly prescribed. However, they have a higher risk of being abused. Many of them have a significant illegal black market presence, and trafficking is likely.

Schedule II Drugs

Schedule II drugs are usually highly addictive pain medications. They have a crucial place in medicine, but they are also dangerous. Schedule II drugs are things like oxycodone, codeine, morphine, and opium.

Schedule I Drugs

Schedule I drugs are what we consider “illegal” drugs. They are legally considered to have little to no value to the medical community. Heroin, methamphetamines, and cocaine are the most prevalent Schedule I drugs.

Penalties for Drug Trafficking in Colorado

Every drug crime carries its own penalties. The Colorado deputy making the big busts along I-70 has garnered millions in fines alone. Here are some of the specific penalties an offender can expect upon conviction:

  • Level II drug felonies might result in 16 years in prison and $750,000 in fines
  • Level III drug felonies can lead to 6 years in prison and $500,000 in fines
  • Level IV drug felonies might be penalized with 2 years in jail and $100,000 in fines
  • Level 1 drug misdemeanors can result in 18 months in jail and $5000 in fines

Penalties for Drug Trafficking in Colorado


All of these crimes have mandatory minimum sentences, as well, both in fines and jail time. Getting charged with drug trafficking can end your life as you know it.

If you find yourself facing drug crime charges, don’t hesitate to fight them. Find an experienced Colorado defense attorney and do your best to prove your innocence. It can be the difference between decades behind bars and having a life.

About the Author:

Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.