SUBLETTE COUNTY – Charges are dismissed against four people arrested for alleged involvement in a large-scale marijuana-growing operation at greenhouses near Big Piney owned by one of the defendants, Stewart M. Doty.
County and state investigators had seized about 300 marijuana plants, about 50 processed pounds and other items at Doty’s “Wyomatoes” greenhouses on Aug. 25, 2017.
The four in order of arrests are Sergio Eleazar Huerta-Garcia, Cristian Omar Mendez-Garcia, Doty and Margaret “Maggie” McAllister, all county residents except McAllister, who moved to Colorado last year.
On Jan. 5, Sublette County Attorney Clay Kainer submitted four requests to dismiss all felony and misdemeanor charges “without prejudice” against the defendants “in the interest of justice.”
Circuit Court Judge Curt Haws and Ninth District Judge Marv Tyler signed them the same day. “Without prejudice” means that all charges could be filed again.
Kainer did not respond when asked why charges against the four were dismissed.
In a Jan. 11 email, McAllister confirmed all charges had been dropped.
“I have been advised not to comment,” she added.
Huerta-Garcia and Mendez-Garcia – arrested on Aug. 25 in connection with the illegal marijuana operation – were released on $10,000 surety bonds and had not appeared in Circuit Court since initial appearances last August. Their preliminary hearings were rescheduled several times, most recently on Jan. 17 at 1:30 p.m., records show.
They each faced felony counts possession of a controlled substance, marijuana; possession with intent to deliver marijuana; and conspiracy to commit a controlled substance offense, records show.
Doty arrived at the property Aug. 25 and reportedly admitted he started growing the marijuana in January and was selling it out of state, according to an affidavit by Sublette County Detective Karson Turner.
He was charged in September with a misdemeanor count of growing and processing marijuana and three felony counts of possessing more than 3 ounces of marijuana, possession of more than 3 ounces with the intent to deliver, and conspiracy to commit a controlled substance offense.
He was released on bond; Judge Haws transferred the case to Ninth District Court where Doty pleaded not guilty on Nov. 21. Judge Tyler set his jury trial for March 12.
On Jan. 7, Judge Tyler ordered that trial vacated.
That day, an arrest warrant was issued for Margaret “Maggie” McAllister, now a resident of Paradise, Colo., where she operates a bakery. She was charged with the felony of conspiracy to commit a controlled substance offense and a misdemeanor charge of growing, cultivating and processing marijuana.
She was taken into custody in November and first appeared in Circuit Court on Dec. 11. Judge Haws released her on $20,000 cash or surety bond.
Before charges were dismissed, Doty’s case was proceeding to his March 12 jury trial, which Judge Tyler ordered vacated on Jan. 7, court records show.