Weber Fire suspect charged

Juvenile not named, case in feds’ hands

More than four months after the Weber Fire started, the United States Attorney’s Office has filed a charge against a juvenile for setting the 10,000-acre fire.

James Candelaria of the United States Attorney’s Office said on Wednesday morning that the federal charge of juvenile delinquency was filed on Monday, adding that the case is now in the hands of the federal government.

Candelaria, who refused to release the name or the age of the juvenile, except to say he is under 18, said the act relating to the delinquency charge was setting timber on fire or arson.

He also said no court date has been set yet, and that the court has yet to set the date of the juvenile’s initial appearance.

Candelaria also said that the federal case against the juvenile is handled much differently than how an adult would be charged or handled.

“Everything is done in the best interests of the juvenile,” he said.

Shannon Borders, Bureau of Land Management public affairs specialist for the Southwest District, referred all questions about the case to the United States Attorney’s Office, and said a press release will be coming soon with an update, but was not sure when that would be done.

Montezuma County Sheriff Dennis Spruell previously has said the juvenile was a local resident and that authorities had a suspect within days of the fire starting.

The fire, which began late in the afternoon on June 22, and was contained on July 5, burned 10,133 acres and one outbuilding. No homes were destroyed, though numerous evacuations were ordered. The estimated cost of fighting the fire is $3.2 million.

michaelm@cortezjournal.com