Routt County judge sentences Craig man to 39 years for intent to deal meth, heroin
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A Routt County judge sentenced a Craig man to 39 years in prison for intending to distribute meth and heroin in the Steamboat Springs area.
Derek Kettle, 48, was found guilty in November 2019 of two drug distribution charges, including 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 on June 21, 2018, during a traffic stop on Rabbit Ears Pass. A K-9 with the Routt County Sheriff’s Office alerted deputies to the presence of drugs in the vehicle. Upon inspection, deputies discovered over 112 grams of meth and just under one ounce of heroin.
Kettle’s arrest was the result of an investigation led by the 14th Judicial District All Crimes Enforcement Team, known as ACET. The team comprises investigators from the Routt County and Moffat County sheriff’s offices and the Steamboat Springs and Craig police departments.
According to the original arrest affidavit, an officer with the team’s drug task force followed Kettle from a high-crime area in Denver as he traveled to Steamboat. As Kettle drove over Rabbit Ears Pass, a Colorado State Patrol trooper pulled him over 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, also were arrested during the traffic stop. They both pleaded guilty to drug distribution charges and received prison sentences of 12 years and three years, respectively.
The amount of drugs that were confiscated during the trio’s arrest had a street value of nearly $10,000, according to District Attorney Matt Karzen.
In a news release following Kettle’s conviction in November, Karzen called the case “one of the biggest narcotics distribution trials we have had in this jurisdiction.”
Assistant DA Matthew J.W. Tjosvold led the prosecution team, which also included Deputy DA Alexandra Jennings and ACET Commander Jacob Carlson. Judge Shelley Hill presided over the case and sentenced Kettle.
In a news release on Wednesday, Karzen expressed gratitude to the ACET team, adding the amount of meth and heroin that Kettle was intending to bring to the Yampa Valley was “enough to kill many people and ruin countless more lives.”
“We have had multiple overdose deaths in this judicial district, and each of those people at some point were enabled by the predatory and exploitative actions of a person like Derek Kettle,” Karzen said in the news release. “In Northwest Colorado, if you engage in large-scale distribution of methamphetamine or heroin, clearly you can expect to go to prison for a long time.”
Kettle will serve his sentence at the Colorado State Penitentiary, according to Karzen.
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