Nigerian businessman jailed six years for smuggling cocaine

A Summit County judge denied a request to reduce the bond for a Commerce City woman accused of transporting drugs.

During a court hearing Tuesday, April 4, Alexis Ariana Romero, 24, of Commerce City, asked Judge Susanna Lea Messner-Cutler to reduce her $50,000 cash surety bond.

Romero has been held on bond in the Summit County jail since her arrest on March 10. She faces charges of possessing a Schedule 1 or 2 controlled substance in excess of 225 grams with intent to distribute, a Class 1 drug felony; possessing a Schedule 1 or 2 controlled substance greater than 4 grams, a Class 4 drug felony; and a controlled substance importation special offense, a Class 1 drug felony.

Around noon on March 8, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office K9 Narcotic Interdiction and Detection Team initiated a traffic stop based on intelligence from state and federal law enforcement, the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release last month.

During the traffic stop, the team’s drug-sniffing dog — Baby Blue — and her handler successfully detected drugs in the vehicle, the release states. Later, when executing a search warrant, law enforcement reportedly discovered 25 kilograms of cocaine. The cocaine tested positive for both cocaine and fentanyl, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Romero was arrested on an outstanding misdemeanor warrant at the time of the traffic stop and released on bond, the news release states. She was later arrested on felony charges stemming from the drugs found in her vehicle during the execution of the search warrant, according to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office.

On Monday, Public Defender Jessica Dennis said Romero has been unable to post the $50,000 bond. Romero has reached out to family, but no one is able to help and a bondsman is requiring property to be put up as collateral, Dennis said.

“The bond is just too much for her due to her current circumstances,” Dennis said. “That is really keeping her in custody.”

But Deputy District Attorney Stephanie Cava noted that Romero has already sought a bond reduction that Judge Edward Casias denied and, previous to that, had her bond reduced from $100,000 to $50,000 during a weekend bond hearing.

Cava said Colorado State Patrol’s task force with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration has indicated that Romero is a flight risk because she has connections to individuals who could help her flee. Noting that Romero was allegedly transporting more than 50 pounds of cocaine, Cava also argued that Romero is a community safety risk.

“It is very possible she would not appear in court for this matter,” Cava said.

Romero said she does not have connections that could help her flee but was cut off by her public defender, who advised her not to speak on the matter in court. She also requested to be released on an ankle monitor but Judge Messner-Cutler denied that request as well.

“The court has reason to believe that you might be a flight risk,” Messner-Cutler said. “And (there are) certainly community safety issues.”

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