Laramie Woman Sentenced to Prison for Marijuana Possession
A Laramie woman who likely would have been sentenced to probation before she was allegedly found in possession of methamphetamine while out on bond was sentenced to prison Thursday in Albany County District Court.
Rae Rae Contreras, 34, was sentenced to three to five years in prison after pleading guilty in June to one count of felony marijuana possession. Judge Jeffrey Donnell recommended her for placement in the intensive treatment unit.
Contreras was arrested after a May 3 traffic stop. An Albany County Sheriff's deputy pulled her over shortly after midnight, after he saw her swerve over the center line on Curtis Street.
Court documents say Contreras admitted to taking an antidepressant and smoking marijuana earlier that night. A search of her vehicle reportedly turned up an unspecified amount of marijuana along with materials used to roll joints.
Contreras was twice previously convicted of possession of a controlled substance, making this latest charge a felony.
Defense attorney Candace Pisciotti requested a sentence of probation for Contreras in court Thursday, noting that Contreras is trying to get custody of her brother, sister and youngest son through court proceedings. Contreras said she was trying to take care of her siblings following the mother's death.
Pisciotti also noted that someone allegedly took methamphetamine into the Albany County Detention Center while Contreras was incarcerated there. Pisciotti said Contreras had opportunity to use the methamphetamine, but decided against it.
"She does so badly want her family back together," Pisciotti said.
Prosecutor Kurt Britzius explained that he was prepared to recommend a sentence of probation under the original plea agreement, but Contreras was allegedly found in possession of methamphetamine while out on bond after being arrested in May. Britzius said the revised plea agreement called for the new possession charge to be dismissed at the expense of the state's recommendation for probation on the original charge.
Britzius went on to recommend that Contreras be incarcerated.
"She has one of the worst drug problems I've ever seen come through," Britzius told the court. "Without that drying-out period combined with treatment, the state just does not feel she would be successful on probation."
Donnell agreed, citing Contreras' eight pages of criminal history including ten felonies. Donnell said Contreras has previously been sentenced to probation, prison and had been out on parole.
"I know that you're still wanted in New Mexico," Donnell said. "And you continue to engage in illegal behavior. Nothing changes."
"We all agree on one thing -- you've got a serious drug problem that has come first and foremost in your life for a long time," Donnell told Contreras after reading her sentence. "Time to deal with it."