9Wants to Know has learned the guilty plea will likely include prison time.
Chris Bartkowicz' attorney has filed for a change of plea hearing in federal court indicating his client will change his not guilty plea to guilty.
Bartkowicz faces a distribution of marijuana charge, maintaining a drug involved premises and manufacturing or distributing a controlled substance near a school.
Bartkowicz showed 9NEWS his large scale grow operation for a story set to air the day Drug Enforcement Administration agents arrested him on Feb. 12. The planned story never aired on 9NEWS.
Bartkowicz rented the house where he grew more than 200 marijuana plants. The house was within a few blocks of Sand Creek Elementary School at the corner of Dad Clark Drive and South Maplewood Drive in Highlands Ranch.
Bartkowicz indicated he planned to plead guilty to lesser charges in April, but decided against it. At that time, he faced one charge of manufacturing with intent to distribute more than 100 marijuana plants.
That charge carried up to 40 years in prison.
When he declined to take a plea bargain offered by the U.S. Attorney's Office, prosecutors asked a grand jury to indict him on more serious charges.
A federal grand jury indicted Bartkowicz May 4, adding the additional counts of maintaining a drug-involved premises and distributing or manufacturing near a school.
Prosecutors also filed a sentence enhancement which alerted the court to Bartkowicz' past felony drug convictions.
If convicted at trial, Bartkowicz faces ten years to life in prison. Pleading guilty would likely reduce the time Bartkowicz is ordered to serve.
His new request for a change of plea hearing comes after U.S. District Judge Philip A. Brimmer rejected an attempt Sept. 21 by Bartkowicz' lawyer to have the case dismissed because he said Bartkowicz was growing new types with medical value.
Defense attorney Joseph Saint-Veltri argued Bartkowicz he was growing strains that are wrongly considered off-limits Schedule 1 drugs.
Brimmer agreed with federal prosecutors that a judge can't decide to exempt some kinds of marijuana from the federal designation.
The judge also banned Bartkowicz from using state marijuana law in his defense.
The new change of plea hearing is set to take place Thursday at 1 p.m. in federal court.
Have more information about this story, e-mail investigative reporter Jace Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303-871-1432. Follow him on www.twitter.com/jacelarson.
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