Federal prosecutors plan to seek at least 20 years of prison time for a former Aspen resident accused of cocaine-trafficking charges, according to a court filing Thursday.
Because Montgomery Chitty had a previous conviction in 1990 for smuggling marijuana into the United States, he faces an increased penalty if he is convicted of the felony charge of conspiracy to sell at least 5 kilograms of cocaine, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle R. Korver wrote in the filing.
The 1990 conviction was delivered in the federal court's Lafayette-Opelousas Division in Louisiana, where Chitty was sentenced to four years in the Federal Bureau of Prisons, according to court records.
A new conviction would net Chitty, 61, "a mandatory term of not less than twenty years imprisonment and not more than life imprisonment, a fine up to $20,000,000, or both, followed by a term of supervised release of at least ten years," Korver wrote.
Original charging documents against Chitty said that he faced a minimum of 10 years in prison and as much as a $10 million fine. Chitty has been in federal custody without bond since agents arrested him in February, in Big Pine Key, Fla. On Friday, Magistrate Judge Kristen L. Mix denied a motion by Chitty seeking bond.
Chitty's arrest came nearly nine months after Drug Enforcement Administration agents in May 2011 snared 10 people, including six in the Aspen-Snowmass area, on conspiracy charges that they trafficked more than 200 kilograms of cocaine between Aspen and Los Angeles over a 15-year period.
Chitty is scheduled to stand jury trial Feb. 4 through 8 in the U.S. District Court of Denver, with Judge Marcia S. Krieger presiding.
Meanwhile on Thursday, court-appointed attorney Thomas Goodreid filed a motion to withdraw as Chitty's counsel, making him the second lawyer to remove himself from the case.
Goodreid's motion notes that Chitty is seeking a court hearing "in order to deal with his intention to represent himself." Goodreid also noted that he would be willing to serve as an advisory counsel for Chitty during the trial. Chitty also is agreeable to that arrangement, Goodreid wrote.
Prosecutors allege that Chitty had aligned himself with Wayne Reid, whom authorities deemed the ringleader of the Aspen network. Reid is awaiting sentencing.
The prosecution contends that when Reid went to prison in 2000 on drug charges in another case, he asked Chitty to take over his business in Aspen. Chitty agreed, prosecutors allege. But when Reid was released, Chitty still continued to supply Reid's customers.
Much of the prosecution's case against Chitty is based on wire-tapping evidence, court records show.