PLYMOUTH -- Jose Daniel Ortiz, 39, of Elkhart and Plymouth, was sentenced on Thursday in Marshall Superior Court No. 1 to 30 years imprisonment at the Indiana Department of Correction for four counts of Dealing Methamphetamine as Level 2 Felonies, one count of Dealing a Narcotic Drug as a Level 2 Felony, one count of Dealing a Narcotic Drug as a Level 3 Felony and one count of Conspiracy to Deal in a Narcotic Drug as a Level 2 Felony, Marshall County Prosecutor Nelson Chipman said in a news release.
Judge Robert O. Bowen approved an agreement between Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Tami Napier and defense attorney Christopher Berdahl.
Ortiz admitted in open court that in July through October of 2018, in numerous transactions, he sold methamphetamine and heroin.
The Marshall County Undercover Narcotics Investigation Team (UNIT) investigated Ortiz over a period of months which included seven video and audio recorded transactions that were the basis of the charges against him.
In exchange for a pleading guilty to all counts charged by the State, and after consultation with investigating officers, proecutors dismissed a sentencing enhancement allegation.
The case began in July of 2018 when Ortiz sold 8.1 grams of methamphetamine in Centennial Park while children were playing on the playground — including his own children.
Ortiz again sold methamphetamine on another day in July 2018 at a gas station in Plymouth.
In September of 2018, Ortiz sold heroin in the Dollar General parking lot.
In October of 2018, Ortiz sold 11.6 grams of heroin in LaPaz.
Tami Napier argued for an aggravated sentence based on Ortiz’s criminal history as he has a prior conviction for dealing and has a pending Level 2 Possession of Heroin case in Elkhart County.
Additionally, he has violated probation every time he was given an opportunity for less restrictive sentencing.
Tami Napier, the Chief Deputy Prosecutor, and Christopher Berdahl, Ortiz’s attorney, argued to Judge Bowen what each side believed the appropriate sentence should be.
The sentencing range was between ten (10) years to thirty (30) years.
Ultimately, Judge Bowen found Ortiz’s criminal history to be of sufficient weight as an aggravator to justify imposition of the maximum sentence of thirty (30) years in the Indiana Department of Correction.
Prosecuting Attorney Nelson Chipman praised the efforts Chief Deputy Napier and the law enforcement officers involved in the case. Chipman emphasized that we shall continue to aggressively prosecute methamphetamine dealing and heroin dealing offenses.
“Ortiz has been a menace for decades and sold the two most dangerous illegal drugs around,” Chipman said in the news release. “As a supplier, he has ruined many lives and individual members of families of innocent victims. This 30 year sentence and the twenty-two and a half year minimum he must serve reflects the harm he has caused our community. I hope never to hear about Mr. Ortiz again.”