SIERRA VISTA — A Sierra Vista city council candidate indicted on 10 counts of drug-related offenses pleaded guilty to one felony violation on Monday, ending his chances to run for a seat on the panel, city officials said.
Mathew Haupt will not see any jail time based on the plea agreement he entered Monday in Cochise County Superior Court. But the 45-year-old is facing three years probation, as well as mandatory treatment/counseling, Superior Judge James Conlogue said at the hearing.
If Haupt does not attend treatment/counseling, he could face incarceration of up to one year, Conlogue said. The judge also warned Haupt that if he doesn’t follow the terms of his probation, he could be jailed.
Haupt is one of three individuals who collected enough signatures to become an official candidate in the race for one of three at-large seats on the Sierra Vista City Council in November.
But with his plea on Monday afternoon to one count of attempted possession of a dangerous drug (mushrooms containing psilocin and/or psilocybin), his name will not be on the ballot.
“Once the judgment has been formally entered by the court, he will no longer be a qualified elector and therefore not qualified to be a candidate,” said Sierra Vista City Clerk Jill Adams. “So, his name will not appear on the ballot.”
Three people have emerged as write-in candidates, Adams said; the three are Kathy Boston, Frank Rich and Daman Malone.
Anyone interested in becoming a write-in candidate may do so until Sept. 24, Adams said.
Haupt, who was not arrested on this case, is often present at city council meetings as a member of the public. He filed his statement of interest to run for the council in February, but in April, he was indicted by a grand jury on 10 counts of drug-related offenses, court records show.
In court Monday, Haupt’s attorney Roger Contreras said his client was stopped in December 2019 in Bisbee and the mushrooms were in his vehicle.
The charges on the indictment include production of marijuana, offer to sell or transfer marijuana, manufacture of a dangerous drug, offer to sell or transfer a dangerous drug and possession of a dangerous drug.
Assistant County Attorney Terisha Driggs said she took the case “directly to grand jury and he (Haupt) was summoned in for his arraignment.”
Once Adams receives the official court judgment, she will notify the county’s elections office to not include Haupt’s name on the ballot.
Each of the write-in candidates said they joined the race because they want to see change on the dais.
Boston, a 52-year-old real estate agent, said the key to local government is representation. She said several people in the community encouraged her to join the race.
Rich meanwhile, a former Huachuca City mayor who grew up in Sierra Vista and worked for the city’s public works department, said he became interested in running after he drove down Fry Boulevard and saw several shuttered businesses. The 57-year-old Rich said he can bring money back to the area.
And the youngest write-in candidate so far, 33-year-old Malone, said he believes the City Council needs a new perspective from someone of “my demographic.”
The city does not hold a primary election. The general election is Nov. 3.