A Montezuma County jury on Tuesday found Ramon Alberto DeJesus guilty of drug distribution of methamphetamine, a Class 2 felony.
The jury acquitted DeJesus, of Cortez, on the charge of introduction of contraband into the Montezuma County Detention Center.
In a sentencing agreement accepted by District Judge Christopher Munch, DeJesus received a 16-year sentence in the Department of Corrections for the drug distribution conviction. He received one-year credit for time served.
The prosecution dropped habitual criminal charges that act as sentencing enhancers in exchange for DeJesus agreeing to the maximum sentence for the Class 2 felony, which was 16 years in prison.
A separate case against DeJesus for felony drug distribution that involved the alleged sale of methamphetamine to an undercover agent was dismissed as part of the sentencing agreement.
The two-day trial took place at the Montezuma County Combined Courthouse in Cortez. The jury began deliberations at 2:48 p.m. Tuesday and reached a verdict at 5:15 p.m.
The charges stemmed from an arrest of DeJesus in April 2021 by the Montezuma-Cortez Narcotics Team after an undercover drug operation. The undercover operation included surveillance of DeJesus at his residence at the Mesa Verde Inn, which is near a school.
During the jail booking, a bag with 14.6 grams of methamphetamine was found on DeJesus along with five small bags with small amounts of meth inside. He has been held in the Montezuma County Detenton Center on a $40,000 bond.
Prosecutors were satisfied with the trial outcome and maximum sentence.
“The sentence imposed is appropriate and effectively consequences the dangerous and potentially deadly distribution of illegal drugs in our community,” said Deputy District Attorney Jeremy Reed who prosecuted the case, in a statement. “I am pleased with the outcome and thank my office and law enforcement for their hard work.”
District Attorney Matt Margeson said he was “pleased” the jury convicted DeJesus on “this serious offense” and applauded staff members for their work “to make certain justice was done for the community.”
DeJesus’ past criminal history contributed to the maximum sentence for the drug felony conviction because it prompted the previous habitual criminal charges, said Assistant District Attorney Will Furse.
A habitual criminal is defined as having two felony convictions in the last 10 years or three previous felonies in a lifetime.