A Montezuma County resident on a 12-month deferred sentence for drug charges in February 2018 picked up similar drug charges in December, and in the first 10 days of 2019 received two summonses after her dog allegedly killed a neighbor’s sheep on County Road 33.
Deputy District Attorney Sheena Goldsborough said Wednesday in Montezuma County Court that she has offered Marque Lopez, 25, a misdemeanor plea deal for the December drug charges, which would dismiss a Class 4 drug felony. However, Lopez and public defender John Moran indicated they were not prepared to accept or reject the offer.
In an email to The Journal, Goldsborough said the hearing was “somewhat out of character” because a defendant typically accepts or rejects a plea before the court rules on it.
But on Wednesday, Montezuma County Judge JenniLynn Lawrence, after noting that Lopez is on a deferred sentence for similar charges and was arrested for “same thing,” decided to continue the disposition hearing to Jan. 16.
Lopez was arrested by a Mancos deputy marshal on Feb. 18 on charges of possessing meth. She was a passenger in a silver GMC pickup that was stopped because it had a cracked windshield and the driver allegedly failed to use a turn signal on North Willow Street, according to a Mancos Marshal’s Office incident report.
During the traffic stop, Lopez reportedly threw a blue purse onto the passenger seat.
The deputy said he found three hypodermic needles and 1.2 grams of a crystal substance in a small bag that later tested positive for meth.
Lopez was charged in Montezuma County Court with possession of a schedule II controlled substance, a Class 4 drug felony, and possession of drug paraphernalia. She was granted a 12-month deferred sentence on May 9. After the new drug charges in December, however, the District Attorney’s Office on Dec. 19 filed a notice of intent to prosecute.
A Cortez Police Department sergeant stopped Lopez on the night of Dec. 6 as she was driving a blue Chrysler 300 with expired registration on Montelores Avenue with passenger Gina Marquez. Lopez was driving very slowly, the sergeant reported.
Cortez Police Lt. Andy Brock said the Sheriff’s Office was looking for two people with active warrants at a residence northwest of Cortez, and the Chrysler was a “vehicle of interest.” He did not identify the names of the two people with warrants.
On the way to the residence, he said MCSO saw the Chrysler pass in the opposite direction. Once deputies arrived, they were told the two people with warrants had left in the Chrysler. Brock said law enforcement believe Lopez and Marquez dropped off the two people with warrants before the traffic stop.
During the traffic stop, Marquez told the sergeant she had not dropped anyone off, but he noted that she “appeared to be nervous.” The sergeant asked why she was driving so slowly, and she said she couldn’t remember what street Marquez lived on, even though she was a passenger in the vehicle.
A Cortez Police K9 unit arrived and indicated the presence of drugs, according to the incident report. Marquez, the owner of the vehicle, consented to a vehicle search.
During a search, officers located Lopez’s purse with five Clonazepam pills and no prescription in the back seat, according to the incident report. There also was a locked box in the purse. The sergeant reported being able to see syringes and baggies through a gap in the box.
Lopez said she had a key, which she retrieved from her nearby home, according to the report. Upon opening the box, the sergeant reported finding four syringes, a white dish with residue and a bagged half gram of a white substance that later tested positive for meth.
For that arrest, Lopez is charged in Montezuma County Court with possession of a schedule II controlled substance (meth), a Class 4 drug felony; possession of a schedule IV controlled substance (Clonazepam), a Class 1 drug misdemeanor; failure to display license plates and driving without proof of insurance.
Goldsborough told The Journal in an email that she could not comment on plea negotiations, but court records indicate she has offered Lopez a misdemeanor plea for possession of Clonazepam, which is a tranquilizer for seizures, panic attacks and anxiety. The plea would dismiss the felony charge of meth possession.
All parties will return to court on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. for another attempt at a plea deal.
Lopez also will be in court earlier that day, at 9 a.m., for an arraignment hearing on a Class 2 misdemeanor charge for possessing a dog that caused bodily injury to a person or property, according to a Montezuma County resolution, and a Class 3 misdemeanor for ownership of a dangerous dog that inflicts bodily injury upon a person or domestic animal, according to Colorado Revised Statutes.
Lopez’s next-door neighbors on County Road 33 have made at least four reports to the Sheriff’s Office from Nov. 5 to Jan. 8 regarding loose dogs that have attacked their sheep.
The dog was not found on the first incident, reported on Nov. 5. When a deputy arrived, the homeowner was covering a dead sheep, and another sheep in the pen was missing its lower jaw. No dogs or predatory animals were found in the area.
The homeowners made another report on Christmas Eve. The homeowner stated the dog owners hid the dog the last time MCSO responded, according to an incident report. The homeowner stated he heard a commotion in the sheep pen and saw a pit bull actively attack one of his sheep. He shot at it, and the dog ran back to the house next door. One of his sheep was lying on the ground with lacerations on its face. He said each sheep is worth about $400.
The homeowner stated he had done everything he could to keep his sheep safe. A deputy reported that the he was “very shaken up.”
Two deputies then responded to the house next door, at 13777 County Road 33, and saw Lopez rounding up approximately 10 loose dogs. Lopez informed the deputies that she kept the dogs outside while her family opened presents for Christmas.
A deputy reported that one dog, a medium-size black and white pit bull, had blood on its mouth and front legs. It is named “Kilo.”
According to the incident report, Lopez and her father told deputies on Dec. 24 that the dogs would no longer run free, but 18 days later, the neighbors reported that dogs were again on their property. One of the homeowners said she was concerned about her lambs. The next day, the homeowners made another report of loose dogs.
Three residents in the area filled out voluntary witness statements, and one of the homeowners provided video of the loose dogs, according to the incident report. As no animals were attacked in the two most recent incidents, Lopez is being charged in Montezuma County Court with possession of a dog not under control. Her father, Frankie Lopez, was issued a separate summons for dog not under control on Jan. 8. The father and daughter are both scheduled for arraignment at 9 a.m. on Jan. 23.
According to a Montezuma County resolution and Colorado Revised Statutes, Lopez could face a $1,000 fine or 12 months in prison for each time a dog attacks a person or property.
Sheriff Steve Nowlin said the dog could be taken away or destroyed through a court order.