Dealing ‘Grandpa’ concedes he’s guilty

Confesses to selling drugs, murder plot

Robert “Grandpa” Hakel told a judge Wednesday he’s guilty — with a caveat.

“I just want to get this over with,” Hakel told District Judge Brian Flynn, shortly before the judge imposed what could add up to a life term in prison.

“I did about 75 percent of it, if that makes any sense.”

Hakel, 67, admitted guilt to charges in his three outstanding Mesa County cases: single felony counts of distribution of methamphetamine; possession of a weapon by a previous offender; and solicitation to commit first-degree murder.

Hakel was sentenced by Flynn to 32 years in prison under the terms of a plea agreement struck with the District Attorney’s Office.

He faced up to 96 years in prison had he been convicted during a jury trial scheduled for next week.

Prosecutors said Hakel will be eligible to go before a state parole board in his early 80s, should he live that long and serve “good time.”

Nicknamed “Grandpa” by members of a drug-distribution ring authorities believed he operated, Hakel was arrested in March 2008 on suspicion of selling meth and cocaine out of his Grand Junction apartment, according to an arrest affidavit.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Dan Rubinstein said Hakel was in possession of just more than 8 ounces of meth when officers arrested him.

While jailed in Mesa County on that case, authorities raided his apartment and seized 15 rifles and handguns. Hakel was later convicted of nine counts of possession of a weapon by a previous offender.

In June 2008, Hakel was charged with a separate count of possession of a weapon by a previous offender, after prosecutors learned Hakel had hidden a .50-caliber rifle at a local home. A man told a Grand Junction police detective Hakel had given him the rifle to “hold” in the fall of 2007.

Authorities learned about the rifle when Joe Jarvis, Hakel’s nephew, turned over a letter to the District Attorney’s Office in which Hakel had threatened to use the weapon to kill a Drug Task Force officer.

Prosecutors alleged Hakel tried to silence two men who were prepared to testify against him: Jarvis and Blaine Ellifritz, who was arrested in connection with Hakel’s drug ring.

Hakel approached an inmate at the Mesa County Jail, offering $10,000 and a 1980 Pontiac “muscle car” in exchange for the murders, according to an arrest affidavit,

Over several months, he met with an undercover officer posing as a hitman and exchanged letters outlining how the killings should be carried out.


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