Driver caught with drugs sent to prison
Pascual Ramirez-Rivera, 26, of Omaha, Neb., pleaded guilty on Oct. 21 to a charge of possession of marijuana, a class 5 felony.
Ramirez, a Mexican national, who was arrested in August on charges of possession of more than 100 pounds of marijuana, will have to serve one year in a state prison.
“The punishment seems appropriate because it was his first offense,” District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said Thursday. “Also, there was no indication that he was involved with the distribution, he was a “mule.'”
Mules, Hurlbert said, are in charge of transporting the drugs.
Ramirez-Rivera was pulled over for weaving in and out of lanes on Interstate 70 through Dowd Canyon. Colorado State Patrol trooper Dave Rollins searched the 1992 Toyota minivan, after he became suspicious of Ramirez-Rivera’s story and actions, police said.
Rollins found a false compartment in the back of the minivan and inside the bed there were 123 pounds of marijuana in different packages. Police said they knew the marijuana was headed for Omaha, but they couldn’t tell where it came from.
Ramirez-Rivera was booked into the Eagle County Detention Center on a $15,800 bond. He was originally charged with possession of more than 8 ounces of marijuana, marijuana with intent to distribute, a special-offender charge of more than 100 pounds of marijuana, weaving in traffic and failure to provide proof of insurance.
In a letter to County Judge Fred Gannett, Ramirez-Rivera’s wife said she and her husband would be receiving a degree in engineering in December in Mexico.
Vail Daily reporter Christine Ina Casillas contributed to this story.