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Man convicted of possessing explosives sentenced to prison

Nickie Carrillo, 54, will spend six months behind bars

A La Plata County man who was convicted of attempted possession of an explosive device was sentenced Friday to six months in prison.

Nickie Carrillo, 54, will begin serving his sentence July 16.

Sixth Judicial District Court Judge William Herringer said the sentencing decision was difficult because he didn’t think any of the available options for sentencing would aid Carrillo.

He said Carrillo’s previous actions have shown probation doesn’t work, he wasn’t eligible for community corrections because of his health problems, and it was cruel to send him to prison given his health conditions.

“Sometimes you have to do things that you don’t want to do,” Herringer said. “This is a sentence that is borderline cruel and makes me uncomfortable. It makes me angry at the limitations of our system. I wish our system had a better option for you, but I can’t in good consciousness put you on probation because I have no realistic expectation that you will succeed under probation.”

Carillo was arrested Feb. 28, 2017, at his home east of Elmore’s Corner after two explosive devices were found in his home. Deputies from the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office had been called to the property to perform an eviction, from which Carillo was exempt.

One explosive was found on a table in the living room and was described as a jelly jar filled with spark plugs and nuts and bolts, according to an arrest affidavit. On top of the jar was what appeared to be a hollowed-out light bulb or globe filled with an amber-colored liquid, with a firecracker duct-taped to the top of the globe.

A second explosive device was found on a dresser in Carrillo’s bedroom. The device was a triangular piece of plastic with three shotgun shells attached to it, with a firecracker taped to the shells, according to the affidavit.

Deputies also found two rifles in the residence. Carrillo is a convicted felon and isn’t legally allowed to possess firearms.

However, prosecutors dropped a charge of possession of a weapon by a felony offender.

Carrillo is expected to report to jail at noon Monday. Failure to report will be considered an escape, Herringer said.

Carrillo’s sentencing hearing had previously been delayed twice because Carrillo failed to appear for a pre-sentencing investigation. Carrillo’s public defender, Paul Warren, said Carrillo missed the scheduled meetings because of family emergencies and health issues.

Herringer had previously considered placing Carrillo in jail to ensure he could be seen by a probation officer.

Warren argued that Carrillo’s life “spiraled out of control” when his first wife died in 1990. He said a jail sentence would likely further isolate Carrillo, and he needed probation to help him get his life back on track.

“If Mr. Carrillo is given an opportunity, I think he can be a valuable member to our community,” he said.

Prosecutors argued Carrillo had an extensive criminal history and had received light sentences for previous charges. Carrillo had previously been charged with a DUI, a DWAI, third-degree assault and assault on a peace officer.

Prosecution also said Carrillo had an extensive history of denying his actions. Prosecutors said when deputies found two rifles, Carrillo said they weren’t functional. Investigators tested the rifles and discovered they worked.

Investigators used tape to mark a safe in Carrillo’s house as evidence until they could obtain a search warrant to search the safe.

By the time they received the search warrant, the tape had been removed and the safe was empty.

asemadeni@durangoherald.com

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