The two brothers accused of selling fentanyl from their liquor store in 2022 appeared before a judge on Wednesday to address pretrial motions.
Brian Yi, 41, and Steve Yi, 45, appeared in court side by side as their respective lawyers discussed matters pertaining to their upcoming trials, scheduled for Feb. 5. Although the brothers are currently slated to be tried separately, the court deliberated during the Wednesday hearing on the possibility of consolidating the cases.
In July 2022, the Yi brothers were apprehended by Colorado Springs police following a thorough two-month undercover investigation. The investigation uncovered that the brothers were purportedly involved in the illicit sale of fentanyl and other prohibited narcotics at Austin Bluffs Plaza Liquors. The value of the narcotics sold by the brothers amounted to thousands of dollars.
Five individuals have been apprehended in a significant operation in Colorado Springs, resulting in the recovery of over 300 fentanyl pills.
Undercover officers purchased $1,800 worth of “blues” from Brian and Steve Yi, according to police. Following the arrest of the brothers, investigators seized a significant amount of illicit substances, including 2,000 fentanyl pills, 2.36 pounds of cocaine, 14.6 grams of Xanax, 11.3 grams of oxycodone, and slightly over 3.5 pounds of marijuana products.
The Drug Enforcement Administration defines “blues” as a slang term for oxycodone.
The police discovered $36,100 in cash, as well as three handguns and an assault rifle at the Yi brothers’ liquor store following their arrest.
Judge Erin Sokol stated that before making a decision on whether to keep the cases separate, she requires further details regarding the potential defenses that each brother plans to utilize at trial. She emphasized that “antagonistic defenses,” where one co-defendant undermines or accuses the defense of the other, can complicate a joinder, but this is dependent on specific legal circumstances.
A Colorado Springs woman has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for selling drugs to her own son.
During the court hearing, there was a discussion about the potential for Brian Yi to provide evidence against his brother, Steve, who was identified as the primary operator of the fentanyl ring. It was mentioned that Brian might claim to have primarily managed a separate dry cleaning business. Additionally, Brian’s attorney mentioned the possibility of him testifying against his brother during the trial.
Judge Sokol has requested the attorneys representing the brothers to submit confidential information regarding their defense preparations to her office. This request is aimed at allowing her to make a decision prior to the next motions hearing.
The court also examined the possibility of presenting evidence obtained from a confidential informant who reportedly purchased drugs from the brothers during the police investigation. The prosecution contended that since the CI is currently active and a detective was present during the transactions, there would be no need to disclose the CI’s identity.
The judge ruled that the Confidential Informant (CI) must be identified and brought in as a witness to testify about their involvement in the case, even if there are other witnesses present. Additionally, the judge postponed making a final decision on this matter until the next hearing, allowing the prosecution to reconsider their stance and consult with law enforcement.
The brothers’ cases are scheduled for the next hearing on January 19th.
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