Aspen Times, CO
January 27, 2006
Two men arrested in the Dec. 2 drug raids in downtown Aspen pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine Thursday, agreeing to deals in which distribution and conspiracy charges were dropped.
Jesus Soto-Sandoval and Julian Gonzales-Coronado each had a half-gram of cocaine when officers arrested them, Soto-Sandoval at Little Annie's Eating House and Gonzales-Coronado at Cooper Street Pier.
A six month investigation. A raid using 50 federal, state and local officers. All for an amount of powder weighing less than half of what a penny weighs.
Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis said the sentences only reaffirmed his belief that the war on drugs is a disaster - "The Vietnam of the 21st century," he said.
"If we released every drug prisoner across the country, other than the violent ones, we wouldn't need to build any more prisons for a century," he said. "The criminal justice system is starting to support my philosophy. ... I don't care what you do to your body. As a friend, I'd say, 'Hey, you're killing yourself.' But it's your choice."