Couple sentenced for meth trafficking in front of children |

Couple sentenced for meth trafficking in front of children

by Sheila Gardner

A 25-year-old Gardnerville man, who exposed his two small children to methamphetamine trafficking from his apartment, was sentenced Tuesday to 7-1/2 years in prison by a judge who called him “the community poisoner.”

District Judge Tod Young sentenced Robert Rodriguez to 36-92 months for allowing a child be present during commission of a controlled substance violation and 24-84 months for trafficking in a controlled substance.

The sentences are to be served concurrently which means Rodriguez must serve a minimum of 24 months before he is eligible for parole.

He was ineligible for probation.

Rodriguez apologized for the crimes.

“I’m concerned about your children, but other people’s children are foremost in my mind,” Young said.

The judge pointed out that Rodriguez trafficked in methamphetamine solely to make money. The defendant reported only casual use of alcohol and no drug use.

“You had thousands of bucks in your pocket as ‘community poisoner,’” Young said. “It was not even for your own use. That is reprehensible.”

Rodriguez’s girlfriend, Michelle A. Hart, pleaded guilty to allowing a child to be present during the commission of a controlled substance violation and child endangerment.

On Tuesday, Young questioned whether Hart deserved a diversion program, as she did not appear to be a drug addict or alcoholic.

“Diversion is not a way to get out of a felony or a way to skate. Everything she says so far, she doesn’t have a drug or alcohol problem. She’s just made a living from someone who sells drugs and poison to the community, and sits around with thousands of dollars in his pocket from selling methamphetamine,” Young said.

According to court documents, the pair was arrested in February following a three-month investigation by Douglas County Sheriff’s Office investigators that involved four purchases of methamphetamine.

Investigators reportedly found methamphetamine in an unlocked desk drawer in the couple’s apartment within easy reach of their two children, ages 3 and 9 months. The children’s voices could be heard on an audiotape of a transaction indicating their presence.

The children are in the care of Child Protective Services.

Young deferred Hart’s sentencing until June 24, 2014, and placed her under the supervision of parole and probation.

He also ordered her to write an essay within two weeks.

“I want you to write me an essay about what goes into methamphetamine, how it’s made and how it kills people so you can educate people about the poison you were living off,” Young said.

He also ordered her to earn her high school general equivalency, complete parenting classes, and participate in one-on-one counseling for up to three years.

She may not consume or have access to alcohol and controlled substances, or be around anyone who does, and must maintain fulltime education or employment, or a combination.

“You can’t go to a party where there’s alcohol,” he said. “If you violate this, I will send you to prison.”

Young also deferred sentencing on the child endangerment charge until next June.

“You really need to look at your life,” he said.