Jury convicts man on drug charges
by Sheila Gardner
A 19-year-old Carson City man was convicted Friday by a Douglas District Court jury of charges that he engineered the sale of a half-pound of methamphetamine to a drug informant.
A jury of eight women and four men deliberated two hours before they found Servando Ortiz-Monroy guilty in a four-day trial.
Ortiz faces up to life in prison at his sentencing Jan. 24, 2005, by Judge Michael Gibbons.
Lawyer Kevin Walsh of Carson City claimed Ortiz was set up by his co-conspirator and the informant to work off their own drug penalties.
But Douglas prosecutor Mark Jackson said Ortiz was an integral part of the deal and was out to make money.
The methamphetamine was purchased for $5,000, but had a street value of $20,000, according to Walsh.
The transaction took place in the Target parking lot near the Carson City border on July 29.
Walsh argued that none of the Tri-Net Narcotics Task Force officers monitoring the sale saw Ortiz with the drugs.
The prosecution claimed that Ortiz acted as a lookout and set up the deal over his cell phone.
Ortiz was tried on two felony counts: principal to trafficking in a controlled substance and conspiracy to violate the uniform controlled substance act.
Jackson said he faces up to six years in prison on the conspiracy charge and 25 years or life on the trafficking charge.
His co-defendant, Mario Esquivias-Velasco, is set for sentencing Tuesday before Douglas District Judge Dave Gamble.
Walsh said Esquivias was homeless and had nothing to lose by going to prison.
“Does Mr. Esquivias seem to be the type of person willing to go to prison to raise his status and emerge as a hero? He’s homeless and a recovering addict. Is it a reasonable possibility that by going to prison, he gets clean, emerges as a hero, gets three meals a day and has a roof over his head?” Walsh asked.
Jackson defended the integrity of his witnesses.
“(Ortiz) is the director of his own play,” Jackson said. “When the play is cast in hell, you can’t expect angels as witnesses.”