Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Cocaine dealer gets 6 years in prison

Suspect first to be sentenced from major drug bust

Express Staff Writer

Carlos Moya-Diaz

A Hailey man has been sentenced to six years in prison for selling cocaine to an undercover police officer.

The prison sentence was imposed Monday morning by Blaine County 5th District Court Judge Robert J. Elgee. Carlos Moya-Diaz, who was 22 at the time of his arrest, must spend three years behind bars before he is eligible for parole.

Moya-Diaz was one of 13 suspects indicted by a Blaine County grand jury last April following a major countywide drug bust conducted by the county's Narcotics Enforcement Team. He is the first of the group to be convicted and sentenced.

Elgee gave Moya-Diaz credit for 187 days already spent in jail. He had remained incarcerated on $100,000 bond.

As part of a plea agreement, the Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney's Office dismissed eight other felony charges against Moya-Diaz, who pleaded guilty in August to a single count of trafficking in cocaine.

In a somewhat unusual arrangement, the prosecutor's office also agreed to dismiss two felony charges against the defendant's wife, 22-year-old Erika Moya, who was indicted by the grand jury on single counts of "aiding and abetting trafficking in cocaine" and "aiding and abetting possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver where children are present."

Ketchum attorney Dan Dolan, who represents Moya-Diaz, described his client at the hearing as a U.S. citizen and "good guy" who "got caught up in the drug trade."

"What drove Carlos to this situation was that he was a drug addict," Dolan told the court. "He does have a good family. They are sad that he has to go away for three years or longer."

More than a dozen of the defendant's family members and friends attended the hearing.

"He wants to be a model inmate so he can get out of prison as soon as possible," Dolan said.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Matt Fredback acknowledged that the defendant has no prior criminal record but told the court that a six-year prison sentence is justified because Moya-Diaz had been "dealing drugs for a significant period of time."

"He's a pretty active drug dealer and he needs to be sentenced accordingly," Fredback said.

He said that Moya-Diaz was under investigation for more than a year prior to his arrest and that "drugs, paraphernalia, guns and a significant amount of cash" were found in the defendant's home at the time of his arrest.

Elgee went along with the prosecutor's recommendation.

"I think the terms of the agreement are probably fair," the judge said. "Dealing and trafficking, it really doesn't matter how you come to it."

Elgee wished the defendant well following sentencing.

"Good luck to you, Mr. Moya. I hope you've learned something from this that you can use when you get out."

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