A medical-marijuana caregiver is facing more time in prison than he did for first-degree murder after he was caught shooting off a weapon known as a "street sweeper" through his Longmont neighborhood.
A federal judge could sentence Stylios Alton Trachanas to almost 15 years in prison June 8 — and possibly more.
The 41-year-old pleaded guilty Friday to possession of a firearm and ammunition by a prohibited person, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of an unregistered firearm.
Deputies from the Boulder County Sheriff's Office also found 50 to 100 marijuana plants in his home.
Trachanas' attorney, Douglas Richards, declined to comment on the case while sentencing is pending.
In court filings, Richards asked a judge to suppress the evidence authorities found during the search of Trachanas' home, arguing that they had no right to continue searching when they learned he was legally allowed to grow marijuana plants.
Trachanas had paperwork from the state of Colorado indicating he was a caregiver to at least nine patients.
The warrant was obtained after deputies smelled an overpowering odor of marijuana emanating from the house.
A judge denied the motion to suppress.
Jeff Dorschner, a spokesman for the Colorado U.S. attorney, contends the marijuana was not a factor in Trachanas' prosecution.
Last April 15, neighbors called the Boulder County Sheriff's Office to report a series of gunshots and that a person driving a Chevrolet Avalanche was randomly firing a weapon.
Nobody was hit.
"It is not considered a gun," Dorschner said. "It's much like a pipe bomb. It is extremely dangerous."
The street sweeper, a Cobray 12-gauge shotgun, is the type of weapon that needs to be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
It would be highly unlikely for the ATF to register that type of weapon to the average citizen, Dorschner said.
Authorities also found a Cobray .380-caliber machine pistol and a Springfield 9mm handgun in Trachanas' house, along with ammunition.
Forensic analysis matched the shell casings from the shooting with Trachanas' firearms, the plea agreement said.
Trachanas was convicted of first-degree murder in Harris County, Texas, in 1992 and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He also has convictions for possession of cocaine on his record.
Caregivers in Colorado are not required to undergo a background check to grow and provide medical marijuana to patients, according to Mark Salley, spokesman for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Only dispensaries and owners of marijuana businesses are required to undergo background checks.
Reporter: Felisa Cardona
Source: The Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_2...aregiver-pleads-guilty-randomly-firing-weapon
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Longmont, CO marijuana caregiver pleads guilty in weapons case