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Cotto Found Guilty In SDNY After FBI Cited Controlled Buys Motion Dismissed Nov 3 Is On

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Oct 28 – Ervin Ortiz was arrested as part of a multi-defendant narcotics conspiracy.   

On May 20, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Jed S. Rakoff held his sentencing. Inner City Press covered it, below.

On October 12, 2021, Judge Rakoff  denied Ortiz's pro se motion for release: "Ervin Ortiz. Before the Court is Ervin Ortiz's motion for sentence reduction under 18 U.S.C. ง 3582(c). On September 27, 2019, Ortiz pled guilty to participating in a conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 1 kilogram and more of heroin and 33 grams and more of cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. งง 841(b)(1)(B) and 846. On May 20, 2021, the Court imposed a below-Guidelines sentence of 66 months in prison followed by five years' supervised release. On July 11, 2021, fewer than two months after his lenient sentence was imposed, Ortiz filed a pro se motion for compassionate release....[*** See this Memorandum Order ***]... As it noted at the time of his sentencing, the Court is not unsympathetic to Ortiz's medical conditions. However, even if assuming arguendo has conditions might give rise to an "extraordinary and compelling" reason satisfying one of the prongs of compassionate release, it is clear that another of the prongs, the applicability of 18 U.S.C. ง 3553(a), precludes the relief that he seeks. Ortiz was sentenced only shortly before he filed the present motion and he cites no relevant change in circumstance in the intervening time. Indeed, in imposing its sentence, the Court explicitly considered and took account of the risks associated with the ongoing pandemic. See Transcript of May 20, 2021 Sentencing at 20. Accordingly, Ortiz's motionfor compassionate release is denied. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Jed S. Rakoff on 10/12/2021)."

  Co-defendant Eddie Cotto has been on trial; on July 15 an FBI Special Agent identified him and described controlled buys on Lexington and 110th Street, how he would park his car on 109th Street to observe.

Now on July 21-22, "EDDIE COTTO, a/k/a “Eddie Diamond,” was found guilty in Manhattan federal court following a week-long jury trial before U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff.  COTTO is scheduled to appear for sentencing before Judge Rakoff on November 3, 2021... EDDIE COTTO was the leader of a drug trafficking organization that operated in New York, New York, and controlled drug sales of heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl in and around a New York City Housing Authority building at 1760 Lexington Avenue. COTTO supervised and coordinated the supply of narcotics to his co-defendants, and stored the DTO’s narcotics in the locked janitorial closets of the Building.  COTTO acted as the gatekeeper of the Building generally from the safety of a Winnebago that COTTO parked in the vicinity of the Building." Winnebago no more. [And Judge Rakoff moved on to the Sidney Scales trial, which Inner City Press is also covering.]

Back on June 30 the US Attorney's Office filed its motions in limine, arguing that evidence of Cotto's previous drug offenses should come in, but his conditions of pre-trial detention should not. We'll see - the trial , according to the May 14 docket entry, is set for July 12.

On May 20 Judge Rakoff said that while Ortiz had not met his responsibilities, neither had society met its responsibilities to Ortiz.

He said Ortiz' crimes were not violent, and all sprang from addiction that was never treated. He said if he had his druthers, some of these drugs would be legalized.  

The sentence was 66 months.  It is a sentencing the transcript of which is worth reading. 

As is this: on August 20, Cotto's counsel file a motion for acquittal, arguing that "the government failed to present sufficient evidence for a rational factfinder to conclude that the conspiracy involved 100 grams of heroin or more," citing US v. Pauling, 924 F.3d 649 (2d Cir. 2019).

On October 28, the motion was denied and sentencing will proceed: "MEMORANDUM ORDER [181] Motion for Acquittal as to Eddie Cotto. Pending before the Court is defendant Eddie Cotto's renewed motion for a judgment of acquittal on the charge under 21 U.S.C. § 841 (b)(1)(B), pursuant to Rule 29 (c) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Accordingly, the Court denies defendant's renewed Rule 29 motion. Defendant's sentencing will proceed as scheduled on November 3, 2021 at 4pm. The Clerk of the Court is direct to close document number 181 on the docket. (Signed by Judge Jed S. Rakoff on 10/28/21)." Watch this site.

The case is US v. Cotto, et al., 18-cr-413 (Rakoff)


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