Drug seller gets probation | RecordCourier.com

Drug seller gets probation

by Sheila Gardner

A Carson City man whose cooperation with authorities led to the conviction of his co-defendant in a drug trafficking case was sentenced Tuesday to probation.

“From what everybody’s told me, you’ve done what is right once you recognized where you were in your addiction,” District Judge Dave Gamble told Mario Esquivias-Velasco, 24.

Esquivias-Velasco pleaded guilty to trafficking in a controlled substance, stemming from the July 29 sale of a half-pound of methamphetamine to a confidential informant.

His co-defendant, Servando Ortiz-Monroy, was convicted Dec. 3 of two felony counts in connection with the transaction by a Douglas District Court jury.

He is to be sentenced Jan. 24 and faces up to life in prison.

Esquivias-Velasco’s lawyer, Terri Roeser, said her client viewed himself as a low-level addict rather than a drug trafficker.

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She said he participated in the transaction to pay off drug debts and obtain more methamphetamine for personal use.

“He doesn’t want to be released to the community. He describes Carson City as ‘a bad place’ with lots of drugs and lots of addicts,” Roeser said.

Prosecutor Mark Jackson said Esquivias-Velasco’s cooperation led to Ortiz’s conviction.

“It’s rare that we ever have a Mexican drug organization identified as a drug cartel,” Jackson said. “The Ortiz family goes back to 1991. The state took such a hard stance because the family is in it simply for profit. None of the Ortiz family uses drugs, but they get a lot of people addicted.”

Jackson said Esquivias-Velasco was working off a $200 debt to the Ortiz family.

“There is no doubt Mr. Esquivias provided substantial assistance,” he said.

Gamble sentenced Esquivias to 24 to 60 months in Nevada State Prison with a minimum of 24 months to be served before he is eligible for parole.

He suspended the sentence and placed Esquivias on five years’ probation.

He is to remain in custody until he is deported to Mexico and cannot enter the United States illegally during probation.

“You need to go to Mexico, go to work, stay healthy and stay away from methamphetamine,” Gamble said.

— Sheila Gardner can be reached at sgardner@recordcourier.com or 782-5121, ext. 214.