Grandberry bound over for trial on drug charges
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – A local judge bound suspected drug dealer Evance Grandberry over for trial on Monday, in all but one of the seven counts he is charged with in one of the cases against him.
“I am taking count three under advisement,” said District Judge Denise Lynch, after a preliminary hearing to determine whether there was sufficient evidence to continue court proceedings against Grandberry.
Lynch explained that she would be doing research on whether the evidence supports an accusation by drug agents and prosecutors that Grandberry was involved in a particular drug deal, even though he was not present at the transaction itself.
Police and agents of the Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team (TRIDENT) say that Grandberry, 22, of Carbondale, was the leader of a group of adults and juveniles busted last year for allegedly dealing drugs in the midvalley area.
All told, authorities rounded up 17 of 21 suspected dealers allegedly identified in a nine-month investigation.
Grandberry’s charges, spread across three cases, include selling cocaine to undercover agents, selling a drug called MDMA or ecstacy to undercover agents, selling prescription medications, and violation of his probation on an earlier conviction.
At the preliminary hearing, TRIDENT agent Justin Wareham testified that he was in charge of several drug purchases allegedly involving Grandberry, and that TRIDENT first became aware of Grandberry from reports by an unnamed “confidential informant,” or CI.
Wareham, sporting a shaven head, earrings and a heavily stubbled chin, rolled out an account of purchases beginning on May 4, 2012, in which Grandberry allegedly either was a part of the transactions or was monitoring the deal from nearby.
The agent detailed the procedures used by his team, including his assertion that field tests were conducted on the spot after each sale to corroborate the presence of an illicit drug.
But, pressed defense attorney Kathy Goudy, in the field test in at least one instance, the purchase of alleged cocaine on May 4, 2012, did the test come back negative?
Yes, said Wareham.
Goudy fired back, “So, in many cases, it might not be reliable, is that correct?”
“No, I wouldn’t say that,” Wareham answered, but he conceded that the tests are known to be inaccurate “a percentage of the time.”
Goudy asked about the test results on the alleged MDMA on Oct. 18, and Wareham admitted that the test was inconclusive in terms of whether the drug was present.
Goudy also focused on the lack of results from more accurate testing by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI), from incidents as far back as May 4, 2012.
“We are talking about 10 months here,” Goudy declared. “They have to be able to prove that they have a controlled substance” seized from a defendant, to prevail at a preliminary hearing.
“We do not have conclusive admissible tests,” she told Judge Lynch.
The judge, however, responded at one point that, “At this stage, they don’t have to conclusively prove that it’s cocaine.”
Goudy also cast doubt on the state’s case based on the Oct. 11 purchase, at which Wareham admitted that Grandberry was not present.
“We have inference on top of assumption on top of guesswork,” Goudy said of Wareham’s testimony.
The agent had earlier said he believed Grandberry to be the one behind the deal, even if he was not present at the deal, based on his observations on this case and others.
The Oct. 11 purchase was the only aspect of the DA’s case that gave the judge pause, however. She found that probable cause existed for the other six charges.
Grandberry, who is free on $30,000 bond, is due in court again on April 18.
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