Craig resident set for trial on Eagle County drug trafficking charges
Trial of Curtis Dean Shewfelt could shed light into local drug trade
The upcoming trial of a Craig resident facing multiple felony drug charges in Eagle County has the potential to shed new light into the local pipeline for heroin and methamphetamine.
In July of 2017, Curtis Dean Shewfelt, 40, was found inside of a pick-up truck that had been driving erratically and evading police near Avon, according to police reports of the incident.
A woman named Holiday Sanchez, 31, was driving Shewfelt’s car and both later admitted to doing heroin before getting in the car to drive from Loveland to Gypsum. Sanchez told police that she drove because she was less intoxicated than Shewfelt, but she had been drifting between lanes on Interstate 70 when Officer Greg Schwartz of the Vail Police Department initiated a traffic stop.
Sanchez responded by speeding up in an attempt to lose Schwartz, taking the Avon exit and cutting over to U.S. Highway 6 before eventually crashing the car at the Avon Road roundabout. She then took off running into the woods, but was located by police after she injured her ankle.
Shewfelt was found, slumped over and groggy, in the car and both were brought in for questioning.
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Police found multiple containers of “black heroin” totaling 44.7 grams as well as other paraphernalia in the pick-up truck, which belonged to Shewfelt.
He now faces charges of possession of a controlled substance (a class 4 drug felony), conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance (a class 3 drug felony), possession with intent to manufacture or distribute a controlled substance, (a class 3 drug felony) and violation of bail bond conditions for a previous crime (a class 6 felony).
During the interviews conducted by the Gore Range Narcotics Interdiction Team, a multi-agency taskforce targeting local drug trafficking, Shewfelt said he and Sanchez had been driving to meet with Sam Fightlin or “Sam Fight,” a name the officers were all too familiar with, according to the police report.
GRANITE detectives have reason to believe that Fightlin has been involved in trafficking heroin and methamphetamine across the Eagle and Roaring Fork valleys, but undercover officers have been unable to make any purchases from him in order to bring charges forward, according to the report.
Shewfelt and Sanchez’s statements differed significantly around whose idea it was to try to outrun the police, and Sanchez claimed to be unaware that they were driving to Gypsum to deliver drugs to Fightlin. Sanchez, according to police documents, said Shewfelt was Fightlin’s “middle man,” a “connect” to deliver heroin from the Denver area out to Eagle County.
Messages pulled from Shewfelt’s iPhone allegedly show that was the purpose of the trip. Texts between Shewfelt and Fightlin, as well as Fightlin’s alleged girlfriend Sara Watkins, lay out the delivery plan with Watkins sending increasingly angry messages when Shewfelt was detained and didn’t show.
More conversations of this nature were found after police reviewed Shewfelt’s texts and Facebook messages with Fightlin and Watkins, leading to the final felony charges Shewfelt faces.
Shewfelt already had a jury trial, but new evidence came to light during the trial that neither Shewfelt’s defense attorney, Jesse Wiens, nor prosecuting attorney Johnny Lombardi had time to review beforehand.
For this reason, the first trial was declared a mistrial and a new trial is set to begin on Monday, July 19.
What this newly discovered evidence is and what may come from the testimonies and evidence presented next week remains a mystery for the time being, but the trial is expected to involve multiple key players in the local drug trafficking scene that law enforcement officials have been monitoring for some time.
Email Kelli Duncan at firstname.lastname@example.org