The Pitkin County Courthouse, pictured in this March file photo. 

A 35-year-old man arrested Thursday morning after Pitkin County Sheriff’s deputies responded to several reports to dispatch of reckless driving — including veering off Highway 82 near the airport several times — faces two class-3 felony drug charges, one count of class-6 felony theft and another class-6 felony charge for criminal impersonation, in addition to a misdemeanor for driving under a revoked license, according to a Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office arrest report.

When law enforcement made contact with Michael Metallo at about 9:44 a.m., Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Schmalandt noted that the 1997 Saturn sedan with a California license plate and two bicycles together worth about $3,600 on the back “looked like it may have hit a construction vehicle in front of it, but neither vehicle stopped,” Schmalandt wrote in a report. “When the Saturn was at the merge point on CO-82, the driver turned on the left indicator, but the driver merged to the right.”

Schmalandt also noticed that the driver of the vehicle, later to be identified as Metallo, was licking a lollipop. “Which meant nothing at the time — however, after the evidence gathered on scene, that may not have been a normal lollipop,” he wrote.

That’s because Metallo — who initially falsely gave authorities his younger brother’s identity, Marc Anthony, and birth date — had on his person, according to multiple PCSO reports, three hypodermic needles (two of which “contained a brown/black substance consistent with the characteristics of heroin,” according to Deputy Aerial Groene’s report); a glass vial with at least 20 blue pills with an “M” and “30” on them, suspected to be laced with fentanyl; one glass vial containing a “white powdery residue;” and “one container approximately the size of a hockey puck with a large crystal like substance — the characteristics of which were consistent with crystallized methamphetamine.”

Additionally, Sgt. Ryan Voss, who also responded to the incident, reported that additional drug paraphernalia was clearly visible in the driver’s seat area of the vehicle.

“I looked in the Saturn and noticed a small smoking pipe with a yellow tip on the driver's seat, a spoon and tin foil on the driver's side floorboard, and a small black square object that resembled a scale,” Voss wrote. 

At about 9:50 a.m. Schmalandt initiated a roadside sobriety test, which Metallo did not perform in a way comparable to that of a sober person, according to PCSO documents. Additionally, Metallo — who first told Schmalandt he did not have his wallet, only for authorities to find it in his pocket — answered questions very slowly and in a confused way, the law enforcement case narratives note. 

“I spoke with Deputy Schmalandt about the combined observations and we both agreed there was probable cause to arrest Metallo for suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs, and as such Metallo was incapable of safely driving a motor vehicle,” Voss wrote in his report.

In addition to Metallo’s license being revoked because of a previous DUI conviction, he was also under a protection order that stipulated he could not consume or possess controlled substances or alcohol. 

“The amount of pills that were found on Metallo's person suggests that Metallo intended to sell or distribute the pills. The presence of drug paraphernalia inside the driver's seat of the vehicle and on Metallo' s person suggests that Metallo had used or was planning to use a controlled substance or illicit drug(s), in violation of the laws of this state,” Groene wrote. 

As for the two bicycles found on the back of the vehicle, they each matched the description of a bike reported stolen. The vehicle, which did not belong to Metallo, was “was to be towed to a secure storage location to be searched at a later time,” Groene noted.

Metallo, described as a Basalt-area homeless man on the arrest report, was not listed as an inmate at the Pitkin County Jail as of Tuesday evening. He is due in Pitkin County District Court, via virtual appearance, on Jan. 3.

Megan Tackett is the editor for the Aspen Daily News. She can be reached at or on Twitter @MeganTackett10.