Man busted in Vail driving stolen car, carrying meth gets eight years in prison |

Man busted in Vail driving stolen car, carrying meth gets eight years in prison

Denver man found with stolen car, license plate and methamphetamine

VAIL — Habitual criminal Shay Michael Stanford will spend eight years in prison, hopefully developing some better habits.

Stanford, 30, faced 18 charges — 10 felonies and eight misdemeanors. Among his crimes, Stanford allegedly stole a license plate to put on a stolen car, apparently trying to throw Vail police off his trail. Stanford gave police permission to search both him and the stolen car, and that’s when police found methamphetamine in his pants pocket.

All this he did while driving on a revoked driver’s license.

Deputy District Attorney Johnny Lombardi asked for a lengthy prison sentence Thursday. Eagle County Court Judge Rachel Fresquez agreed, sentencing Stanford to eight years in state prison.

What happened

It was around 2:30 a.m. August 3, 2019, and Stanford was hanging around the Vail Transportation Center, reportedly drunk and carrying a knife. When Vail police arrived Stanford and his sidekick Joshua Swetky fled into the Solaris parking garage on foot.

Vail Police officer Casey Ipema spotted Stanford and Swetky trying to drive away from the Solaris in a white Lexus. Ipema stopped the Lexus and called dispatchers, who ran a quick check on Stanford. They turned up two felony warrants on Stanford — one a parole violation and another for burglary.

Because Stanford was in possession of a stolen license plate on a stolen Lexus, Ipema asked him to step out of the vehicle. Stanford then let Ipema search him and the Lexus.

Ipema found 18.8 grams of meth in Stanford’s right front pants pocket. According to the arrest affidavit, Stanford then volunteered that police would also find needles to inject drugs. Ipema popped open the glove box, and there they were.

The Lexus was reported stolen in Littleton on May 13, according to police records. Police also found burglary tools, and allege that Stanford used those burglary tools to break into another car.

Stanford’s sidekick kicked

Stanford’s sidekick Swetky jumped out of the car and ran away on foot. He got away from Eagle County, but not far in the universal sense.

Swetky was picked up for robbing a pickup in Washington City, Utah, according to Washington City police. When the truck’s owner came outside to ask why Swetky and his significant other, Nicki Mawhorter, were stealing stuff from the back of his truck, police say Swetky threatened the man with a gun.

Swetky and Mawhorter managed to escape, but again, not far. They made it 29 miles from Washington City to Veyo, Utah, where Swetky, 33, lived and where they were arrested.

Swetky and Mawhorter are in purgatory, literally and metaphorically. They are being held in Utah’s Purgatory Correctional Facility. Swetky faces robbery and drug charges in Colorado.

Mawhorter, 39, was arrested on a warrant from Utah’s Bureau of Pardon and Parole. She did a stint in prison on two 2014 convictions for narcotics and credit card theft.

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