20-year old Vail Valley man sentenced to prison in drug, burglary cases | VailDaily.com

20-year old Vail Valley man sentenced to prison in drug, burglary cases

Roberto Carrasco's drug problems and criminal activity left a judge no choice but to sentence him to eight years in prison.
Special to the Daily

EAGLE — A 20-year old Eagle County man was sentenced to eight years in state prison Monday after losing his battle with drugs and, by extension, the judicial system.

When he was 19 years old, Roberto Carrasco was sentenced to eight years in prison after being convicted of burglary charges and other crimes stemming from his drug problems. Because Carrasco was so young, District Court Judge Russell Granger suspended that sentence and put him in Eagle County’s alternative sentencing drug court, hoping to avoid Monday’s hearing.

Carrasco would remain free as long as he stuck to the alternative drug court program’s rules and the terms of his probation.

Carrasco didn’t last a week before he used drugs again, Chief Assistant District Attorney Joe Kirwan said during Monday morning’s sentencing hearing.

Four days after Carrasco was released to supervised probation, he tested positive for methamphetamines and marijuana, Kirwan said. Carrasco failed to show up for recovery court, and when he did he was late and “he was wasted,” Kirwan said.

Carrasco missed several required drug and alcohol tests. When he did get tested, some of the results were positive, Kirwan said.

Carrasco walked away from a rehab program in Fort Collins after staffers found an unauthorized cell phone that he refused to turn over, and was arrested shortly thereafter in Jefferson County, Kirwan said.

“He has earned his eight years in the Department of Corrections. Apparently he wants to continue his criminal behavior,” Kirwan said.

Defense attorney Terry O’Connor has represented Carrasco since Carrasco was a teenager. He said Carrasco’s caring parents put him in a facility in Mexico where he got a temporary handle on his drug problem.

“Drugs, though, have put him where he is today,” O’Connor said.

However, the court can only do so much, O’Connor said.

“You go up the ladder and prison is the next step for him,” O’Conner said. “All we can ask is that it not be for eight years. He needs help and he won’t get it in prison.”

His parents have tried and tried to help him, and will continue to try, his father said.

“We want to try to help him. He is young and has a lot of life in front of him,” his father said.

Judge Granger said Carrasco had run him out of options.

“We do not want to put you in prison. We don’t have any other place,” Granger said.

Carrasco has already served 218 in jail. Judge Granger ruled Carrasco will get credit for that.

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