Lake Tahoe man convicted in trafficking
A Minden jury took just two hours to convict a Lake Tahoe man of trafficking and conspiracy on Thursday.
Michael Culletto, 35, could face up to a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 10 years at his July 15 sentencing.
The 10-woman, two-man jury decided Culletto ordered 600 grams of MDMA and 500 Ecstasy pills over the Darknet and had them mailed to the Stateline Post Office.
Two informants testified against Culletto during the three-day trial, along with several law enforcement officials.
Culletto did not take the stand in his own defense, and attorney Kristine Brown only submitted the booking sheets as part of his defense.
Culletto was arrested Oct. 4, 2018, in connection with the case after he turned up for a meeting with an informant.
An informant and the man who was arrested three weeks earlier at the Stateline Post Office, identified Culletto as the mastermind in the deal.
According to prosecutor Erik Levin, Culletto ordered a kilo of MDMA, also known as Molly, and 500 Ecstasy pills from the Netherlands over the Darknet.
Levin said that Culletto rented post office boxes in South Lake Tahoe and Stateline under the name Miles Silva.
However, defense attorney Kristine Brown said Silva was a real person with an actual ID, and was not Culletto.
The shipment of three boxes containing drugs was flagged by Customs authorities, who notified Homeland Security.
They brought in U.S. Postal inspectors who set up a controlled pickup with the help of Lake Tahoe drug agents.
The pickup occurred Sept. 19, 2018, when a Mercedes van arrived at the Stateline Post office.
Former Tri Net Drug Task Force agent Marianne Woller testified she watched Culletto get out of the van walk into the post office and come out with what looked like a package receipt.
The driver, Sean A. Robinson, 29, then went into the post office and picked up the three packages, signing Miles Silva’s name to the slip.
Levin contends that Culletto was using Silva’s name, but Brown claimed the real Miles Silva met with Robinson the night before and asked him to pick up the packages.
Robinson is scheduled to be sentenced July 22 on a count of conspiracy to violate the Uniform Controlled Substances Act.
Culletto was taken into custody on Sept. 19 for a Tahoe Township traffic warrant. Brown pointed out that no post office box key was found among his possessions when he was arrested.
Levin countered that Culletto could have hidden the key while Robinson was being handcuffed.
Drug agents used another informant, who was facing Washoe County charges, to contact someone dubbed Sketchy South Lake Tahoe. In an exchange using the informant’s phone, they set up an Oct. 4 meeting at the Lakeside Inn, where Culletto was taken into custody.
Levin played a recording of a phone message where someone Robinson identified as Culletto said “I lost another kilo because police came and arrested my roommate and took the Ex.”
Under Nevada law, trafficking in 28 grams or more of a Schedule I substance is punishable by life in prison with the possibility of parole after 10 years or 25 years with parole after 10 years.
Culletto could also be fined up to $500,000.