Alleged EagleVail drug dealer faces additional charge based on conduct in jail
Judge denies second request to reduce Matthew DeAngelo’s bond after deputy district attorney alleges DeAngelo made threats to kill him
A judge once again ruled to maintain an especially high bond for an alleged EagleVail drug dealer after the prosecution said the man has continued to show alarming behavior from the Eagle County jail.
Matthew DeAngelo’s bond amount remains at $150,000 of which he would need to pay 10% to 15% – $15,000 to $22,000 – to a bondsman to be let out of the jail, which his attorney said is an unreasonable amount.
DeAngelo’s second request to reduce the bond was denied Monday after a detective on the case testified that DeAngelo made threats to kill him and prosecutor Johnny Lombardi.
DeAngelo was arrested at the end of August when police found a large amount of drugs, over $9,000 in cash and a sawed-off shotgun in his EagleVail residence.
Police initially brought a total of 23 charges against him. This includes 17 felonies, five of which were Class 1 drug felonies upgraded in severity through a “special offender” enhancement used to crack down on suspected illegal narcotics dealers.
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Members of the county’s Gore Range Narcotics Interdiction Team located 644 grams of suspected cocaine, 770 grams of suspected methamphetamine and 358 grams of suspected ketamine. They also found 32 grams of psilocybin mushrooms, 60 tabs of LSD or “acid,” 36 Xanax pills and 53 Ritalin pills, according to initial counts provided by the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.
Wiens first asked Eagle County Judge Rachel Olguin-Fresquez to reduce DeAngelo’s bond back in September.
Judge Olguin-Frequez denied the request after Lombardi played audio of DeAngelo’s calls from the jail that he said showed that DeAngelo was plotting to engage in further criminal behavior.
On Monday, the two parties came back before the court, at which point DeAngelo waived his right to a preliminary hearing. Preliminary hearings force prosecuting attorneys to present enough evidence up front to show the judge that they are justified in moving forward with the case.
He decided to waive his right to the hearing to leave the door open to accept a plea deal from the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office as they are currently deliberating an offer, Wiens said.
As part of this offer, the District Attorney’s Office downgraded two of DeAngelo’s class 1 drug felonies, but prosecutors have since added a new class 1 drug felony for possession of ecstasy. They have also added a new misdemeanor complaint for attempts to intimidate or harass potential witnesses associated with the phone calls presented at the September hearing.
At Monday’s hearing, Wiens argued to have the bond reduced on the grounds that DeAngelo has family that he could live with. He also said that DeAngelo is in need of medical and dental treatment that he has not had access to in the jail.
“This is becoming a punitive sanction against Mr. DeAngelo based on the amount of bond and the family’s inability to post it,” Wiens said.
Deputy District Attorney Lombardi said DeAngelo has not requested any treatment in the jail and denied dental treatment for a chipped tooth.
Lombardi cited the legal factors used in determining bond amounts including employment, local residency and presence of family, likely sentence and community involvement.
“He doesn’t have any employment, he’s a drug dealer,” Lombardi said Monday. DeAngelo was evicted from his EagleVail apartment that Lombardi called “the base of his narcotics operation.”
Most of DeAngelo’s family lives on the East Coast, and he doesn’t have many ties to the community, Lombardi argued.
The sentencing range for the drug felonies he faces is eight to 32 years in prison and, even with the plea offer, the District Attorney’s Office is recommending 20 years. He has a number of previous offenses in Colorado and in other states.
Lombardi also called a detective to the stand Monday who said another inmate in the jail reported that DeAngelo had been making threats to kill the detective as well as Lombardi and a co-defendant in DeAngelo’s case.
DeAngelo also allegedly made statements about faking his own death and running from police once he gets out of jail.
“The court has some real concerns about Mr. DeAngelo’s willingness to abide by bond conditions and, essentially, live crime free…” Judge Olguin-Fresquez said in ruling on the request. “So, at this point, the bond is going to stay where set.”
Email Kelli Duncan at firstname.lastname@example.org