Drug charges dropped so Colo native can return to Army
PORTLAND, Maine – A man who helped arrange a drug deal that brought a large amount of cocaine into Maine is being allowed to return to the Army – and a second combat tour in Afghanistan.
Mathew Meineke faced the prospect of five years in prison because of the drug deal back in 2006. Afterward, the Colorado native cleaned up his life, enlisted in the Army and served in Afghanistan as a forward observer for his infantry unit from July 2008 to June 2009. While in Afghanistan, he was indicted.
Earlier this month, Meineke got a rare break. Defense lawyer Tim Zerillo asked federal prosecutors to consider dropping the charges, and they eventually agreed to do that.
“All he wants to do is to be able to serve his country,” Zerillo told the Portland Press Herald. “His highest and best use is not in a federal prison, it’s in Afghanistan protecting us and everyone else.”
Zerillo already had cleaned up his act, returned to his parents’ home in Lakewood, Colo., and joined the Army when he was indicted. The two co-conspirators received sentences of four and five years in federal prison. Meineke was arrested after returning to the United States in June 2009.
Zerillo asked prosecutors to consider diverting the case, in effect dismissing charges. In exchange, Meineke promised not to commit other offenses and agreed to a set of conditions for 18 months.
U.S. Attorney Paula Silsby approved the deal. “It gives people a chance not to have a criminal charge,” she said. “That is infrequent, but it is an option.”
Information from: Portland Press Herald, http://www.pressherald.com
Support Local Journalism
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
In Eagle County, the most commonly reported dead bird has been the Wilson’s warbler, which is yellow. Dead yellow-rumped warblers have also been a common sight.