Arizona man sentenced to 16 years for drug trafficking on I-70 |

Arizona man sentenced to 16 years for drug trafficking on I-70

John Michael Shawn Hughes, 20, accepted a plea deal in February

John Michael Shawn Hughes.
Eagle County Sheriff’s Office

An Arizona man was sentenced Monday in Eagle to 16 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections for his guilty plea in February on one felony drug charge.

John Michael Shawn Hughes, 20, of Glendale, Arizona, accepted a deal from the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office on Feb. 28, pleading guilty to one count of possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute it.

Hughes was facing nine Class 1 drug felonies, the most severe level of drug charges in the state of Colorado. The plea agreement brought this down to just one Class 1 drug felony and dismissed all other remaining charges.

On Aug. 18, 2021, Hughes was traveling eastbound on Interstate 70 through Eagle County when an Eagle County Sheriff’s deputy spotted him driving erratically, and following too close to another vehicle. After pulling Hughes over for a traffic stop, Hughes admitted to not having any car insurance, and seemed confused about who actually owned the vehicle he was driving.

As Hughes acted nervous and suspicious, the deputy initiated a search of the vehicle where nearly 19 pounds of narcotics were found — including 4.8 pounds of suspected cocaine, 5.2 pounds of suspected heroin and 8.7 pounds of suspected fentanyl pills.

Upon his arrest, Hughes was hit with 10 charges including distribution of cocaine, heroin and fentanyl (Class 1 felony), possession of cocaine, heroin and fentanyl (Class 4 felony), as well as possession of marijuana by a minor (unclassified petty offense).

After further investigation by detectives with the Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office, many of these charges were upgraded and Hughes ended up facing nine Class 1 drug felonies before he accepted the plea deal in February.

“Across the district, our numbers for drug overdoses and related deaths are increasing dramatically,” said District Attorney Heidi McCollum in a news release. “And, the danger now is that any illegal drug could be laced with fentanyl without the consumer or user knowing it. This creates a deadly scenario where you are literally playing Russian Roulette with your life.”

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