Accused Sno-Cat stealer makes first Eagle County court appearance. Four counties want a piece of Jason Cuervo | VailDaily.com

Accused Sno-Cat stealer makes first Eagle County court appearance. Four counties want a piece of Jason Cuervo

EAGLE — Jason Cuervo spends more time on the highway these days than the Sno-Cat he allegedly stole.

Cuervo finally made his first Eagle County Court appearance this week, after missing his first local court appearance because he was in the Jefferson County jail.

Cuervo faces various criminal allegations in four counties — Eagle, Clear Creek, Mesa and Jefferson. He's scheduled to be back before Eagle County Court Judge Rachel Fresquez on Monday, Oct. 22, for a preliminary hearing, where the judge will decide whether there is enough evidence to send him to trial.

Sno-Cat saga

Cuervo is accused of stealing John Brandenburg's orange "General Lee" Sno-Cat from the Turntable restaurant's parking lot in Minturn, hitching it to his small Toyota pickup truck and hauling it to Grand Junction, where a SWAT team surrounded the house where witnesses watched him back it into the garage.

He managed to escape that Grand Junction house but was arrested at Boulder Toyota for allegedly trying to sell illegal drugs in a car dealership, possibly trying to swap marijuana to cover some of the costs for fixing the transmission that he destroyed hauling the Sno-Cat with his truck.

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Officers showed up with six warrants for his arrest, including one warrant from Eagle County, where Cuervo was accused of stealing the General Lee the morning of Sunday, March 11.

In Boulder, he faces charges for distributing a controlled substance, obstructing a peace officer, drug possession, driving a vehicle with a suspended license, unlawful extraction, first-degree auto theft, weapons possession and vehicular eluding.

The General Lee

Brandenburg is one of the owners of the General Lee, a big, orange Sno-Cat that was on a trailer when Cuervo allegedly stole it.

When it was stolen, Brandenburg called the police but first posted the General Lee's picture on Facebook. Brandenburg said the tips poured in, and his Facebook post was shared 3,000 times.

People messaged and called to say they saw the huge trailer being towed by a tiny Toyota pickup truck. One of the General Lee's owners, a pilot, jumped in his plane to search from the air.

The General Lee was spotted by a woman in Mesa County who was curious about why such a small truck was pulling such a huge trailer and straining to do it. In fact, she was so curious that she followed it. The woman called the Eagle County Sheriff's Office, which asked the Mesa County Sheriff's Office for a little help.

Mesa County deputies showed up to serve a search warrant, which is about the time Cuervo barricaded himself in the house.

Brandenburg got the General Lee back from the Mesa County Sheriff's impound lot a few days after it was stolen.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.