DA Announces Conviction in First Business Owner Charged Under New Methamphetamine Law Restricting Sale of Chemicals
People vs. Neil Cizek 04CR5266
JUNE 2 -- Neil Cizek, 62, owner of Cherokee Tack and Feed in Fountain, entered a plea of guilty to one count of attempted sale and distribution of materials used to manufacture controlled substances, a class four felony, on Friday April 29th.
Cizek sold large quantities of iodine from his business. Iodine is a chemical used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine. Deputy District Attorneys Denise Minish and Jeff Lindsey, along with Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Agent Paul Sanchez, reached an agreement with the defense late Friday afternoon. The remaining counts are to be dismissed.
Cizek is the first business owner in Colorado charged under the new law which makes it illegal to knowingly sell chemicals used for making methamphetamine. The DEA started investigating Cherokee Tack and Feed in 2003 after store receipts and iodine purchased from this store turned up in meth lab busts. This new law went into effect on July 1, 2004, and DEA agents along with local Metro Vice Narcotics Intelligence (VNI) officers met with Cizek prior to July 1, 2004 to explain this new law. Cizek signed an acknowledgement form indicating that he understood. Three times in the next 2 months, Cizek sold large quantities of iodine crystals to an undercover agent for nearly 4 times the amount of iodine’s legitimate price.
DEA and Metro VNI sources indicate that this case has had a significant effect on local clandestine methamphetamine labs in the area. In the 9 months prior to this case, there were 80 clandestine methamphetamine lab busts in the Colorado Springs area, 13 of which had children present. In the 7 ½ months after charges were brought against Cizek, clandestine labs busts dropped to 22, 2 of which had children present.
The agreement in this case, approved by District Court Judge Thomas Kane, calls for a sentence to probation, the lengths and terms of which will be decided by the court. As a condition of probation, Cizek will be required to complete 48 hours of useful public service. Further, Cizek agrees that he will not sell iodine from his business. In exchange, the Prosecution will not be seeking jail. Cizek has no criminal history. However, if Cizek violates the terms and conditions of his probation, he could face a term of 2 to 8 years in the Department of Corrections and a fine of $2,000 to $500,000. Sentencing is set for June 24, 2005.