STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A Routt County jury has found a Craig man guilty of drug distribution charges following a three-day trial in Routt County District Court.
Derek Kettle, 47, was found guilty of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, a Class 1 drug felony, and possession with intent to distribute heroin, a Class 2 felony.
Kettle was arrested during a June 21, 2018, traffic stop on Rabbit Ears Pass. Over 112 grams of meth and just under one ounce of heroin were discovered in the vehicle Kettle was driving. A Routt County Sheriff’s Office deputy brought his drug dog to sniff the car, and the K9 indicated there were drugs in the vehicle.
Kettle’s arrest was part of an investigation led by the 14th Judicial District All Crimes Enforcement Team — ACET. According the original arrest affidavit, an officer with the team’s drug task force followed Kettle to a high-crime area in Denver and then followed him back to Steamboat Springs, where a Colorado State Patrol office pulled over the vehicle for speeding and having illegal window tint.
Two passengers in Kettle’s vehicle, John Stanley Henderson, 34, and Hailey Celeste Allen, 25, both of Denver, were also arrested during the traffic stop. They both pleaded guilty to drug distribution charges and were each sentenced to 12 years and 3 years in prison.
Kettle is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 23, 2020. He faces a prison sentence of between eight to 32 years on the meth distribution charge and between four to eight years on the heroin distribution charge.
“This is one of the biggest narcotics distribution trials we have had in this jurisdiction, involving so much methamphetamine and heroin, and our law enforcement officers did great work to make the case,” said District Attorney Matt Karzen in a news release. “There is a crucial distinction between addicted people who may dabble in low-level transfers of small amounts of narcotics and bringing the better part of a half-pound of meth and an ounce of heroin into the valley for distribution.”
According to Karzen, the amounts that were confiscated during the trio’s arrest had a street value of nearly $10,000.
“The amounts here represent dozens of potential deaths,” Karzen added. “Those who peddle these poisons on this kind of scale will be aggressively prosecuted.”
Assistant DA Matthew J.W. Tjosvold led the prosecution team, which also included Deputy DA Alexandra Jennings and ACET Commander Jacob Carlson.
The investigation was spearheaded by ACET, which comprises investigators from the Routt County and Moffat County sheriff’s offices and the Steamboat Springs and Craig police departments.