Heroin dealer to serve three years in prison

21-year-old man pleads guilty to distribution

A Durango man was sentenced Friday in 6th Judicial District Court to three years in prison for selling heroin.

Gabriel Yarborough, 21, pleaded guilty to attempted distribution of heroin, possession of heroin and a probation violation.

He faced up to four years in prison after signing a plea agreement with the District Attorney’s Office. He also must serve four years’ probation after his release.

Yarborough was caught selling heroin to an undercover agent with the Southwest Drug Task Force. He was on probation at the time for possession of heroin. He also was caught in a motel room with heroin and drug paraphernalia.

Yarborough was close friends with Shane Gibson, a 21-year-old Durango man who died earlier this year of a heroin overdose.

Deputy District Attorney Christian Champagne said Yarborough was well-connected to the drug-dealing community. He asked District Judge Suzanne Carlson to sentence Yarborough to the maximum allowed under the plea agreement.

“You’re dealing poison in our community,” he said in reference to Yarborough.

Durango defense lawyer Brian Schowalter said Yarborough is a young man with a lot of potential. The sooner he can be released from prison and reintegrated with society, the better, Schowalter said.

“He was not a big-time dealer,” he said. “I just want to be clear about that.”

He also had nothing to do with his friend’s overdose, Schowalter said.

Yarborough said he has been sober for four months while sitting in jail. It is the longest he has been sober since he started using drugs 3½ years ago, he said. He said he realizes he will either spend his life in prison or die from the drug if he doesn’t make a change.

“That could have easily been me,” he said of his friend’s death.

Judge Carlson said Yarborough was selling heroin to support his own habit. She scolded him for his role in a recent heroin epidemic.

“It’s alarming to see how it’s growing in our community right now,” she said. “Look at you, look at your friend.”

shane@durangoherald.com

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