Spared prison, meth dealer is arrested again
A woman who was spared a prison sentence by a Mesa County judge in favor of rehabilitation after repeatedly dealing methamphetamine has been jailed on fresh allegations.
Starlyn Marie Tait, 31, of Clifton, was advised Monday before Chief Judge David Bottger that she could be charged with felony escape, relating to her arrest on a warrant alleging she walked away from Mesa County Community Corrections.
A warrant alleges Mesa County Criminal Justice Services staff couldn’t find Tait on the night of Feb. 27 during a head count, while video surveillance allegedly shows her walking out of the non-secured facility that day without permission. She was arrested last Wednesday.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Dan Rubinstein signaled Monday he’ll pursue a prison sentence in the case for the second time in 11 months.
In a highly unusual move, Bottger in April 2012 sentenced Tait to serve eight years in Community Corrections — the judge reversed himself just days after sentencing Tait to six years in prison — after concluding Tait would be better served by more quickly getting involved with local drug-treatment services.
In handing down Tait’s sentence, Bottger said he’d been “wrestling” with what do in the case not because a prison sentence would be too harsh. Instead, Bottger concluded Tait was likely to be paroled after two or three years of a six-year prison sentence and odds were high she’d get back into drug dealing.
Community Corrections offered more immediate treatment options, the judge noted.
“Her peer group isn’t going to improve in prison,” Bottger said in April 2012. “The community will be better served by giving Ms. Tait the opportunity to get the help she needs.”
Bottger’s reversal came over objections by Mesa County prosecutors.
Tait was arrested in September 2011 in connection with a Mesa County meth-dealing organization exposed following a wiretap investigation. An arrest affidavit alleges Tait was selling approximately one ounce of meth per day over several days during the probe. One ounce accounts for about 112 doses of the drug.
Tait is being held at the Mesa County Jail on a $10,000 cash-only bond.
She’s scheduled to be sentenced again next month.