Former Aspen resident Montgomery Chitty was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison for his role in a cocaine-trafficking organization.
Federal Judge Marcia S. Krieger delivered the sentence in the U.S. District Court of Colorado, according to court documents.
The sentencing hearing came after an April trial in which a jury found Chitty, 62, guilty of conspiracy to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine. He was arrested in February 2012 in Big Pine Key, Fla., nearly nine months after Drug Enforcement Administration agents snared 10 people in May 2011, 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.
Prosecutors previously had said they would seek at least 20 years of incarceration for Chitty because he has a criminal record that includes a 1990 conviction in Louisiana for smuggling marijuana.
Meanwhile, Chitty plans to appeal the sentence, according to a motion filed after Tuesday’s hearing. The motion, filed by attorney Thomas Goodreid, also notes that Chitty no longer wants Goodreid as his counsel.
Goodreid wrote that he met with Chitty after the sentencing hearing.
“The upshot of the meeting was that Mr. Chitty would be better served by the appointment of new counsel,” the motion says.
Chitty had tried to put off the sentencing hearing for various reasons, including his claim that he’d been “brutally beaten” on May 13 by three white supremacists at a federal detention center in Littleton, according to court papers. Chitty’s letter said that the “Neo-Nazi” inmates attacked him because he was helping “a 50-year-old black man hoping to earn his GED high school diploma.”
Another motion, dated Aug. 27, argued for an extension of the sentencing hearing until the passage of the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013, which wouldn’t require judges to issue mandatory minimum sentences in certain circumstances. That same motion said that Chitty “is in poor health. While incarcerated already, he has suffered a severe beating from four other inmates, which appears to have left him with lasting injuries. Mr. Chitty was convicted of a serious drug trafficking offense, but the evidence adduced at trial showed that he had only two customers, one a heavy weight buyer and the other a very low quantity buyer.”
The motion also contended that Chitty “may also have an argument regarding a potentially unfair sentencing disparity between defendants in the related case and him.”
Krieger denied the motion to postpone the sentencing, leading to Tuesday’s hearing.
Chitty’s prison sentence is significantly longer than those of others implicated as part of the investigation. Chitty was the only defendant who went to trial, while the other defendants reached plea deals.
Among them was Aspen resident Wayne Alan Reid, 66, considered by investigators as the orchestrator of the cocaine ring.
In March, a federal judge sentenced Reid to 53 months in prison. According to court documents in the Reid case, “The defendant agrees to provide truthful, complete and accurate information, and agrees to cooperate fully with the government.”