A 66-year-old woman was sentenced to four years in prison this week after being convicted of importing more than $15,000 of crystal meth into Cortez.
“I’m just overwhelmed,” the defendant Darlene Fidel told Chief District Court Judge Doug Walker moments before her sentence was imposed.
In custody at a sentencing hearing on Tuesday, Dec. 1, Fidel requested that she be placed on probation, apologizing to the court for getting “mixed up” in a criminal lifestyle.
“You had 207 grams of meth,” Walker told Fidel. “That 7-plus ounces of methamphetamines was undoubtedly bound for Montezuma County.”
Arguing for leniency on Fidel’s behalf, public defender Katie Whitney explained that her client lived a law-abiding life for 60 years, adding she succumbed to a life of crime only after her husband’s death.
“Ms. Fidel became vulnerable,” Whitney said.
Whitney added that Fidel experimented with methamphetamines only to be closer to a love interest, but the drug took control causing her life to “snowball out of control.”
“She wants to ditch that lifestyle all together,” Whitney said.
According to authorities, Fidel and a co-defendant, previously sentenced to 10 years in prison in connection to the case, rented a vehicle and drove to Phoenix to purchase the illicit drugs. The volume of methamphetamines in question had a street value of more than $15,000.
Requesting a two-year prison sentence, District Attorney Will Furse agreed that Fidel lacked any criminal history prior to 2011, but he indicated that she was more than just a drug addict. Furse noted that Fidel was also arrested on other charges this year, including theft after burglarizing a law enforcement officer’s residence.
“I believe Ms. Fidel should be removed from the community,” said Furse.